Ola should admit safety risks and go for a recall1 min read . Updated: 17 Mar 2023, 12:59 AM IST
This electric scooter maker must stop sending mixed signals over a popular model’s frail wheel-holder and ensure that it endangers riders no further. Its brand reliability is at stake
Till recently, marketing myopia was not a charge easily laid at the door of Ola. It began as a cab-hailing business, but saw itself in the field of transport rather than cabs, which led the brand’s leap into electric mobility for a mass-market play with two-wheelers. Name recognition in India gave Ola Electric an early sales boost, cheered along by those keen for battery-run EVs to shake up a fossil-fuelled market. A brand, however, isn’t just a shiny badge. It must not just offer but assure customers a clutch of attributes they value—such as reliable quality. And on this front, Ola has let down users, admirers and itself with its myopic waffle over a frail part designed to hold in place the fore-wheel of its S1 Pro scooter first rolled out over a year ago. As a Long Story in Mint on Thursday showed, denial was the company’s initial response to signs of this model’s ‘front fork arm’ weakness. Once evidence piled up of wheels snapping off under forces no greater than the jerks of uneven roads, that stance gave way to the evasion of a fix offered in the wrapper of an optional “upgrade" for a problem it still wouldn’t admit. This has left thousands of S1 Pro riders exposed to the risk of a mishap. And led Ola into a situation it must salvage swiftly for the sake of brand reliability.