Recall Reaches India

Indians hardly had any experience of recalling. Maruti Suzuki has broken the record by announcing recall of 1, 00,000 of its A-Star cars manufactured before August 22, 2009 to replace faulty components that could cause fuel leakages. I knew about it yesterday from TV news channels.It seems India has joined global recall season.

Rakesh sent a mail today: “hmm..Not very good news for those of us interested in seeing India as a higher-end manufacturing hub.” Rakesh knew it through- ‘Maruti Suzuki Recalling 100,000 India-Made Cars’ in Product.

Media had talked loudly about A-stars at its launch, as it was the first car designed and developed by Maruti in India. And all the printed media has flashed the news of recalls too. I shall like to recall and remind that it is the same Japanese company, that didn’t think India fit enough to manufacture even transmission gears in India. However, today Maruti Suzuki has changed its strategy. Its revenue is more than the parent unit in Japan. It’s a huge R&D expansion plan for India.

As reported, the car manufacturer has replaced a faulty fuel pump gasket and an O ring in about half the 100,000 units. The two components cost about Rs 400 to Rs 500. It may not cause much financial burden on the company, but it raises questions about the quality level of its production. And the worrying part of recalls is going to be the doubt about India’s capability to produce worldclass cars. The recalls may include around 30,000 to 35,000 units of the A-Star sent to Nissan in Europe. Maruti contract manufactures the A-Star for Nissan, which is sold as the Pixo in Europe.

A friend of mine asked smilingly if the components were not imported ones from China for the reason of cheaper price. Media reports don’t reveal the identity of the vendor/s.

The other manufacturers of India must take lessons from Maruti Suzuki’s recalls and look back in the quality management system.

India’s auto sector, both OEMs and component manufacturers, have claimed itself better in quality than the Chinese counterparts. But the recalls are public admission of management failures and unfortunately the customers these days are in no mood of tolerating it.

Toyota, famous for its quality and unique management tools and TPS, Toyota Production System eulogized world over in manufacturing has got its image badly affected. It happened with Honda and VW too.

Even the winners of Deming Prizes and practitioners of Six Sigma can’t get excused, if they fail. Customers are ready to tolerate any failure anymore, and losses will be immense.

No complacence

Check, recheck, and ensure the quality system works.

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