Honda to recall 8,532 units of City in India

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 31 2010, 07:00am hrs
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A day after automobile giant Honda Motors announced recall of 6,46,000 Jazz and City cars globally to fix a window switch defect, repercussions were felt in India with the company announcing that the recall includes 8,532 units of second-generation City manufactured in India in 2007.

Earlier, the company had said the recall did not include the hatchback Jazz since it is a next-generation model. The company had also said it did not have any definite information on City.

This is the first major recall by Honda in India. However, company officials said several years ago a few City models had been recalled to fix some problem. The Honda recall comes barely days after Toyota announced recall of eight models, including Camry and Corolla. But the Toyota recall was only for the US, Europe and China markets, leaving India untouched.

In India, the Japanese auto major produces and sells the cars through Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI), a joint venture between Honda Motor, Japan, and Siel Ltd, a Siddharth Shriram Group company.

HSCI is proactively replacing the part in these vehicles related to the potential problem of smoke coming out from the power window switch if water enters the driver window when window is left open during heavy rains or is exposed to any other liquid due to spillage. The company is carrying out the part replacement as part of a global exercise by Honda Motor Company to ensure stringent quality standards for its products, HSCI said in a statement.

The company said the replacement would be carried out free-of-cost and the company will communicate directly with the owners of the cars, covered under this part replacement.

However, the third-generation City, which was launched in September 2008 and is being currently sold in India, is not affected and does not require any part replacement. Further, the global recall does not impact the Honda Jazz sold in India as the company is selling the second-generation Jazz since June 2009, while the defective part is found in the first-generation Jazz, the company added.

The global recall of Honda covers Fit/Jazz cars and the City sedan made between 2002 and 2008 in Japan, China, Brazil, Thailand, Malaysia and India. Honda said about 10% of the cars being recalled globally would need a replacement switch, with the remainder requiring installation of a waterproof skirt to prevent further water entry.

The move comes as Toyota has announced recall of millions of vehicles in the United States and another up to 1.8 million vehicles in Europe due to a faulty accelerator pedal. The eight models of Toyota that have been recalled and there sales have been suspended in the US include the 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2007-2010 Camry, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra and 2008-2010 Sequoia.

India yet to frame regulation

Despite a series of recalls in the country, including the biggest by Maruti Suzuki of nearly 76,000 Omni units in 2001 and of another 500 Zen cars in 2006, the Indian government is still far from framing a regulation on vehicle recall in the country.

In India, it is purely the responsibility of the company and the government and industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers have so far not taken any initiative to frame any regulation. On the contrary, developed countries like the US, Europe and Australia have stringent norms to ensure that auto manufacturers automatically take the responsibility of the defective vehicle.

Even Chinese regulation ensures automobile manufacturers, who market their products in the country, are obligated to recall products that are found to be defective in design or manufacturing.

Specifically, they must repair, replace or buy back the defective products and bear all related costs or pay a fine if they fail to recall and repair the vehicle.