New Delhi: In the largest recall of cars in the country, Ford India Pvt. Ltd on Friday asked as many as 166,000 owners of the Figo hatchback and Classic sedan to send their cars for an inspection of potential defects.
The move comes after Ford’s competitor General Motors India Pvt. Ltd recalled at least 113,000 units of its multi-utility vehicle Tavera in July. It later appeared that GM was fudging data related to emissions and specifications, causing embarrassment to the entire industry and prompting the government to order a probe. Mint reported this on 24 July.
The episode forced the government to announce a formal auto recall policy, which is expected to be finalized by next year. Ford is recalling the cars to check for defects in the rear twist beam (RTB) and power steering hose.
A Ford India spokesperson said its action is in continuation with the recall it exercised last year on the same models and over similar issues.
Without giving out numbers, Ford had recalled Figos and Classics manufactured between January 2008 and February 2011 for an inspection of potential defects in the RTB and power steering hose.
“This is in continuation of last year’s exercise and shows that Ford cares for its customers and is pro-active on these issues,” the spokesperson said over the phone.
With respect to the RTB, Ford said 109,469 Figo and 22,453 Classic vehicles—in total, 131,922 cars—produced and sold between January 2011 and June 2012 will need to be inspected but will not necessarily need parts replacements.
In the case of the power assisted steering (PAS), a total of 34,099 units—30,681 Figos and 3,418 Classics—produced and sold in India from January-August 2010 and March-November 2011 will be inspected and then replaced, the company said in a statement.
The Classic was being sold as the Fiesta since January 2008. It was renamed the Fiesta Classic in July 2011, when the company launched a new model Fiesta. The name was shortened to the Classic in July 2012.
“Ford India is extending its existing voluntary Field Service Action (FSA) and will recall the remaining batches of Ford Figo and Ford Classic models to inspect them for potential issues related to the Rear Twist Beam (RTB) and the Power Assisted Steering (PAS) Hose. This is to ensure the safety and satisfaction of our customers by inspecting and replacing any potentially affected parts as required. Ford India will continue to drive this service initiative through its authorized dealers,” the company said in the statement.
No injuries or accidents related to the RTB or PAS issues have been reported, it added.
Customers will be contacted via notification letters through its dealerships. Owners can also contact their respective dealers on the issue through a toll free number: 1800 419 9889
As per a voluntary recall policy adopted by the Indian auto industry in July last year, companies need to inform industry lobby Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam), the government and customers about any fault in their products that may require a recall.
The industry had recommended that the government take action if members failed to declare any defects or faults in their vehicles. Mint on 23 July reported that auto companies have recalled about 210,294 cars, or about 11.43%, of the 1.8 million cars sold in the 12 months to June, according to data provided by Siam.
According to Anil Sharma, senior analyst, IHS Automotive, the recalls should be seen in “positive light” as recalls are “going to be a norm in the industry”.
“This does not look like close to what happened at GM. I think it’s a good step. There may be small impact on the brand but one should welcome the fact that industry has agreed upon recall norms,” Sharma said.
In July, within two weeks of its launch of compact sports utility vehicle EcoSport, Ford recalled 972 units after it detected a potential glitch in the glow plug module of the diesel variant, which will need to be replaced.