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Over 1 lakh Nanos to get new starter motor; not a recall, says Tata Motors

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

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Tata Motors' troubles with the Nano compact car seem to be getting deeper. The company issued one of the largest product recall exercises by a domestic carmaker to fix an issue with the car's starter motor.

After facing issues related to fire hazards last year, it is now replacing the motor for estimated one-lakh Nano compact cars at its own cost on reports of a higher-than-usual sound from the component.

Once again, Tata Motors insists that the replacement is “voluntary” and should not be classified as a recall. “Not calling it a recall, neither is it a recall,” said a company spokesperson. It had issued a similar statement last year after around 70,000 units of the Nano were called back to dealers for a safety device retrofit after a fire-related issue came up.

“We have a new starter motor for the Nano 2012 (new version), which further improves performance, so we are installing these. To my knowledge, there has been no report of any problems with the specific part,” the official said. Currently, around 1.39 lakh Nanos are on the road since the car's launch in March 2009, though wholesale figures (delivery to dealers) are over 1.4 lakh units. The units in which the part is not being replaced (around 39,000 units) mostly represent the new version — Nano 2012. Sales of the Nano 2012 started in November.

“We started the replacement process in October, so we have already done it for about 50,000 units and a similar number is now left. The rest of the cars on the road are mostly the new models,” the official said.

A PTI report, however, said that the recall affects a higher number of about 1.4 lakh units, with the total cost to the company at Rs 110 crore.

However, a Tata Motors dealer, with several outlets in eastern India, said that not all the Nano units sold from his dealerships were covered under the replacement scheme. “We're not doing this in all the cars we've sold; only a certain batch I believe. There is a possibility of some complaints, though I've not heard of much. I think there was too much sound coming from the starter,” said the dealer.

Recall or not?

In the absence of an official recall policy as in the developed markets of the US and the UK, carmakers have generally avoided calling such replacements and fixes as “recalls”. However, a new framework on such matters is being worked out by the Heavy Industries Ministry which will be incorporated in the proposed ‘National Automotive Board' to be set up next year.

roudra.b@thehindu.co.in

Published on December 26, 2011

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