The government of India has said that car manufacturers are not compelled to recall vehicles that have a manufacturing defect, but can voluntarily do so.

Tata Nano vs Maruti Alto 800 Shootout
Recalling small cars can be a task due to the volumes involved

Recently, the government had decided to go easy on all auto companies in the Indian market by slashing the proposed penalties incurred for manufacturing defective vehicles and selling them by hiding such information from both the consumers and Indian authorities. Another update in the same regard has been made which says that the government has no proposal to ask vehicle manufacturers to conduct any mandatory recalls in the event of defects found in a particular model. But the manufacturers can conduct voluntary recalls of a car model if some defects do come to light.

Minister of State for Heavy Industries, G M Siddheshwara in a written reply to the Lok Sabha also said that the government was not even considering to bring a legislation for making vehicle recalls compulsory if 100 or more owners complain about a particular defect in any vehicle. But the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in the draft Road Transport and Safety Bill 2015 has proposed a mandatory recall policy while keeping the safety aspect of vehicle owners in mind.

The draft bill had even proposed that car companies will have to pay compensation to vehicle owners for crashes caused by manufacturing defects. Penalties regarding the same for non-compliance was also proposed. The Road Ministry is currently seeking feedback on the draft bill by various stakeholders and it will be brought to the Parliament after it gets approval from the Cabinet.

Since July 2012, more than 7 lakh vehicles have been recalled under the voluntary recall policy. The policy which is applicable for all vehicle manufacturers ranging from two-wheelers to commercial vehicles says that if the company does find a manufacturing defect which compromises the safety of the vehicle, then they will however have to compensate the buyers by either replacing, repairing or returning the full value of the vehicle to the owners.

At the moment, all vehicle manufacturers in the country follow a voluntary recall policy under an initiative by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) that was introduced in July 2012. Some car companies don’t state a recall as a recall and instead call it a service exercise!

Maruti Suzuki vs Hyundai vs Honda
The tight rope around manufacturer’s neck for vehicle defects is now quite loose