Does this impact the reputation of a company? Or, will it bring out the honesty and integrity of the company? Will customers stop having faith in the offerings of that company? Or, will they gain much more confidence in them?
These questions have been a source of debate every where, especially in India. Companies graciously repair any fault in their vehicles but there is still a stigma in their minds and they try to avoid calling that as a ‘recall’. But the case is different in countries like US. Perhaps the number of recalls in the past few months in India can be counted on fingertips. But, try to find out the number of recalls that happened in the same time in US and you will be shocked looking at the figures. Does that mean that our manufacturers are way better than those in US or does it just mean that we do not have regulations on the recall process?
Well to put the facts into place, in most countries recall happens because a separate body or entity exists which actively monitors all the safety standards and ensure that those standards are being followed. This is exactly what we lack in India. We do not have a dedicated body which can look into such issues. If you think we have ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India), then you are indeed mistaken as this body only does the testing of vehicles so that they are marked as safe on the roads. The second name that would come to our minds would be SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile manufacturers). But that again is a body that represents most but not all the automobile companies in India. News was around on the implementation of the voluntary code on vehicle recall in India by July 2012. The same was mandated by SIAM.
A recall can happen in two cases – 1) when the manufacturer himself finds some fault and 2) when many customers complaint of the same problem in their vehicles. But, SIAM had not given a code which can allow the customers to initiate a recall. For that matter, SIAM does not even specify any standards on the minimum number of complaints to be have received by the manufacturers, which can mandate a recall. Worst is if a manufacturer denies to recall in-spite of the complaints, SIAM has no right to take action against the company. Moreover, till date even SIAM has not considered setting up an independent agency. With such situation in the industry, can a common man who spends a fortune on these vehicles feel safe?
As mentioned earlier, the situation is completely different in US. We would like to quote an incident that happened with Mr. Gregory Skwira. He is a copy editor for Automotive News and has himself narrated his experience. One fine morning he got a call from Southgate Ford. There had been a manufacturing error by the supplier in 2013 Escape which could have caused a part in the fuel line to fail. Now, this can become a serious situation for the owners having 2013 Escape with 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine. Mr. Skwira was one among them, and that was the reason he got the call. Most importantly, the lady on phone had an apologetic tone and was very courteous. Now, that would definitely calm down any of the agitated customers to some extent.
A company like Ford doing such a manufacturing error is not acceptable but the company knew how exactly to handle the situation without losing the customer’s trust. The much interesting thing is what happened next. The car was taken to the dealer and the owner got a replacement. In this case the replacement was a Focus. There were time and again calls from the dealer to check if the whole process was smooth. The recall was indeed smooth and the service included repaired fuel line, a wash job and a full tank of gas. Now, that is something worth that Indian manufacturers can learn. It is the safety of the user which should be given the highest priority by any of the manufacturer. Perhaps, it wouldn’t be a case where one has to question the ethical values of the companies here as they would go to any extent to save their brand name. Companies only need to change their mindset towards the recalls. We indeed need a regulatory body to handle such cases in India. What do you feel?
Source – Automotive News