Troubled car: Maruti A Star
INDIA’S biggest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India announced yesterday it has recalled 100,000 of its best-selling A-Star hatchback cars due to a fuel leakage problem.
Maruti, majority owned by Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp, said it launched the recall last November to fix the fault.
The A-Star cars are being recalled both locally and internationally, mainly in Europe, as a “proactive’ step, the company said in a statement.
“We decided to check all vehicles from the lot, around 100,000 units including those exported overseas,’ the company said.
It comes as Japanese competitor Toyota Motor Corp has recalled more than eight million vehicles globally due to accelerator and brake problems and faces class-action lawsuits.
The five-door A-Star is part of Maruti Suzuki’s “global’ car lineup. It is exported to such European countries as Germany, France and Britain.
“We came across an anomaly reported in the fuel tank in some of the vehicles in November last year and contacted customers through letters,’ the company said.
“No problem has been reported by customers.”
The recall covers those A-Stars made between November 2008 and August 2009.
The company, the leader in India’s main small car market, said it was changing the fuel pump gasket free-of-charge for customers.
“The recall process is on and should be completed soon with more than 50 per cent of the faulty cars having been fixed,’ a Maruti spokesman told reporters.
The company said the problem could occur if the fuel was filled to the brim.
Analysts said the recall should have a minimal impact on the company.
“The collateral damage will be small, it is not a grave problem,” said Mahantesh Sabarad, auto analyst at Mumbai-based Centrum Broking.
“This is not a problem which will affect the safety of the car,” he told reporters.
Analysts estimated that the recall could cost Maruti Rs15m ($326,000/£211,100). Replacing a fuel pump gasket costs around Rs300 ($6.48/£4.19) a car, including labour, they said.
Maruti has not disclosed the cost of the recall, but said it will be shared by the company and its supplier partner.
The firm sold a record 95,649 vehicles in January, a 33.3 per cent jump from a year earlier, aided by strong domestic and overseas sales.
The A2 segment, which includes the A-Star, posted a 25 per cent rise in sales to 58,540 cars.
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