A possible fuel leak is what prompted Maruti Suzuki India to announce the recall of 100,000 of its most popular model, the A-Star hatchbacks. Maruti Suzuki India, India's top carmaker, is 54% owned by Japan's Suzuki Motor.
The hatchbacks, which are exported to Europe as the Alto, had started last November and the company has fixed about half of the total number of cars involved.
The carmaker revealed that the recall costs less than 100 million rupees ($2.2 million). According to a source, the recall includes cars sold in Europe though a tie-up with Japan's Nissan Motor Corp. under Nissan's Pixo name.
The A-Star -- which is being exported to Germany, Britain and France -- sells for about 400,000 rupees in India and 6,500 to 7,500 euros in Europe.
A spokesman for Maruti Suzuki India said that while the regulatory authorities in Europe were informed last year about the recall, it was not disclosed in India.
After an internal analysis was conducted, it showed that leaking is possible when fuel is filled beyond a certain point. Maruti said it had not received complaints from any of its customers regarding this defect.
Deepesh Rathore, analyst with IHS GlobalInsight, said that Maruti's image will suffer no significant damage. Instead, the public would see its recall announcement as a proactive step since there had been no actual accidents.
Rathore added that in India, there is no law of highway safety or any regulatory authority of that nature which requires them to make such disclosures. Maruti had provided adequate provisions for the recall as revealed in the December quarter earnings revealed on Jan. 23.