In one of the biggest recalls recorded in the Indian automobile industry, leading car marker Maruti Suzuki India on Tuesday announced that it had recalled nearly one lakh ‘A-Star' cars, the company's flagship export model, to replace a faulty fuel pump gasket.
The replacement will be done at no cost to the customers and will help check possible fuel leak, although no complaints have been received from customers, the company said.
“As a proactive step, we decided to check all vehicles from the lot, around one lakh units including those exported overseas,” a spokesperson of Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) said. MSI had earlier recalled its hatchback Swift in 2005 to change bolts to reduce the front suspension noise in Swift petrol and in 2007 electronic control units of Swift diesel.
Maruti Suzuki had in 2008 replaced speedometers in its popular Maruti 800 and Omni models.
The company has so far changed the gasket in about 50,000 units in A-Star. The model was launched on November 19, 2008, and the 998 cc K10B petrol engine car is produced only in India at its Manesar facility.
The recalled vehicles belong to a lot made till August 22 last year, the spokesperson said.
Last month, Japanese auto major Honda had recalled 8,532 units of its sedan Honda City in India due to defective power window switch as part of a global recall initiative.
The spokesperson 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 and by December, 2009, we started contacting the customers through letters. The company started replacing the gasket from December, 2009, and has so far changed the part in about 50,000 units.”
A-Star is now exported to about 70 countries and is sold as Suzuki Alto in Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Besides, some of the other major markets are Chile, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria and the UAE, where it is sold as Suzuki Celerio. Japanese car major Nissan also sells A-Star in the European market under a contract manufacturing agreement with MSI's parent Suzuki. Nissan sells the model as Pixo. In December last, A-Star had crossed the one lakh mark of overseas shipments in less than a year of selling the car in the global markets. It started the export of the car since January, 2009. The company is expecting to double its export this fiscal on the back of robust demand from A-Star, as against 70,023 units in 2008-09.