Maruti Suzuki, India’s top automobile company, has joined the ranks of international car manufacturers like Toyota and Honda in recalling vehicles to repair faults.
Maruti on Tuesday said it will recall around 100,000 units of A-star manufactured between November 2008, when the vehicle was launched, and August 2009 to change fuel pump gaskets. This will be the biggest recall by Maruti since its inception in 1983. The company had earlier recalled 76,000 units of Omni in 2001 followed by another 500 units of Zen in 2006.
The development had its impact on the company’s shares, which plunged 3.24% on the BSE to close at Rs 1,336.85, making it the biggest loser among the 30 Sensex companies on Tuesday in a largely flat market.
Analysts said going forward sentiment could get impacted with consumers fearing this can spread to other models also. The Indian auto market has grown at a blistering pace in the last two quarters, closing out 2009-10 at over 10%, the best in several years. Maruti has crossed the one-million-mark for vehicles produced in a financial year by any Indian automobile company.
In a statement the company said “At Maruti Suzuki, we constantly monitor quality of our products through feedback and internal analysis. In one such exercise in November 2009, we came across an anomaly reported in the fuel tank in some of the vehicles manufactured till August 22, 2009. Though no problem has been reported, as a proactive step, we decided to check around 100,000 units of that lot including those exported overseas to prevent any possible fuel leakage,” the company said in a statement, adding that around 50,000 units have already been repaired and the final cost arrived at on this account will be shared with the supplier partner.
Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) had launched A-Star, its fifth global model, on November 19, 2008. The 998cc K10B petrol engine car is manufactured only in India at its Manesar facility and is exported to about 70 countries. The car is sold as Suzuki Alto in Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and as Suzuki Celerio in some other major markets like Chile, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria and UAE. Even Japanese car major Nissan sells A-Star in the European market under a contract manufacturing agreement with MSI’s parent Suzuki as Pixo.
Last month, Japanese auto major Honda recalled 8,532 units of its sedan City in