India's Maruti Recalls 13,000 Diesel Cars

Possible faulty engine component

India's biggest carmaker Maruti Suzuki announced its second recall in just over a year on April 6, saying more than 13,000 diesel models would be checked for a possibly faulty engine component.

The manufacturer, which is majority owned by Suzuki Motor Corp, said the recall applies to 13,157 cars whose engines were manufactured between November 13 and December 4 last year.

"We will inspect the connecting rod bolt for the Swift, Swift Dzire and Ritz cars," the company said, adding that this component will be replaced free if found to be defective.

Other car models were not affected by the problem, it added.

Maruti identified the concern from routine checks at plants and owner feedback to workshops, a spokesman said, on condition of anonymity.

The recall will include 4,505 units of sedan Swift Dzire, 6,841 units of the Swift hatchback and 1,811 units of the Ritz small car, Maruti said.

The latest recall is likely to cost Maruti 30 million rupees (US$680,000), the spokesman said, adding that expenses would most likely be borne between the company and its vendor-dealers.

The recall does not include any exported cars.

The Swift Dzire, Swift and Ritz are among Maruti's best-selling cars, constituting a quarter of its total monthly sales in November and December last year.

In February last year Maruti recalled 100,000 of its best-selling A-Star hatchbacks due to a fuel leakage problem.

"This (fresh recall) is a very serious problem," said Mahantesh Sabarad, auto analyst with Mumbai-based Fortune Equity Brokers, who feared that recall costs may be steep and there could be credibility issues if the problem was not resolved quickly.

Company dealers will contact the car owners, Maruti said.

The recall of A-Star is estimated to have cost up to $7.0 million, of which Maruti spent over $2.5 million and its part suppliers accounted for the rest.

Maruti, which dominates India's market with a 45% share, said it sold 121,952 cars in March, a jump of 28.2% from 95,123 units a year earlier, driven by a burgeoning, affluent middle class. Passenger and commercial vehicle sales have been on the rise as India recovers rapidly from the global downturn and incomes of the country's middle class grow.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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