New Delhi, December 28, 2018: 2018 has been a worse year for the auto industry in terms of vehicle recalls. Car and bike makers have recalled nearly 2.5 lakh vehicles in 2018,  three times more than that in 2017 . The industry had recalled little over 80,000 vehicles in 2017, as per data available with the Society of Indian Automobile  anufacturers, the apex lobby body of the automobile industry.

In fact, such was the intensity that recalls in the first three months of 2018 surpassed the total call backs made in 2017.

Country’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki topped the list with a total of 61,305 recalls (including 5,900 recall for the mini truck Super Carry announced on December 26) followed by Honda Cars India with 30,124 recalls and Mercedes-Benz with 18,976 recalls.

Recalls made this year will still be much less than the record 1 million recalls made in 2015 followed by 8.42 lakh units recalls made in 2016. While manufacturers make repairs free of cost, some prefer calling the exercise as a service initiative rather than a recall.

Maruti Suzuki had recalled Swift, Baleno, Dzire, Vitara Brezza, S-Cross and Ciaz in addition to the Super Carry during the year. Mercedes had perhaps the widest recall bouquet amongst all manufacturers. The luxury car maker recalled A Class, B Class, C Class, S Class, GLA, CLA, and GLC.

The recalls were made to address critical issues such as untimely inflation of airbags or a malfunction in its deployment, sudden engagement of neutral gear when vehicle is in motion and loss of control of vehicle at high speeds. Airbag malfunction, steering malfunction and possible fire pose a high risk of serious injuries or even death of occupants.

Mercedes-Benz recalled 2,673 units of the A-Class, B-Class, C-Class, GLA and CLA to fix unwarranted deployment of driver airbag, which could result in an injury to the driver.

Japanese super bike maker Kawasaki recalled 140 units of the flagship Ninja ZX-10R and its variant to fix a gearbox issue, which if unattended could lead loss of control over the bike.

Honda Cars India, the fifth-largest car maker in the country, recalled 22,834 units of the Accord, Jazz and City to replace Takata front passenger airbag inflators according to moneycontrol.com.

From the two-wheeler space the country’s largest scooter manufacturer Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) recorded maximum recalls at 56,194 units. Activa 125, Grazia and Aviator were recalled rectify the excessive hardness in a bolt mounted in the front fork.

India does not have a formal recall policy yet, despite assurances from the government in the past of putting a legal framework in place for recalls. The US has one of the strictest policies for recall empowering vehicle owners to even can drag car manufacturers to court for damage claims.

So far, auto manufacturers have been guided by the Voluntary Code on Vehicle Recall (Code), formulated by SIAM. However, since the Code has been formulated by the apex lobby body and adherence to the same is voluntary, it has no legal binding effect.

German giant Volkswagen is yet to complete the recall process it initiated in late 2015 for 3.4 lakh cars to fix an emission issue.

At present there is no proposal under consideration in the Department of Heavy Industries to levy fine on manufacturers for faulty vehicles.

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