Recently, Ford India suspended deliveries of the Ford Figo and Ford Figo Aspire. Ford attributed this to a software issue with the ECU's Restraint Control Module (RCM). Then just a week later, Ford announced an official recall of 42,300 units of the Ford Figo and Figo Aspire. The RCM handles the deployment of the vehicle's safety features, and a glitch in the software could prevent the airbags from deploying at the time of a crash.
In recent years, several automobile manufacturers have recalled vehicles to their service centres for fixing of some problems or replacement of some defective parts. Sometimes, they have even published advertisements in leading newspapers asking owners of cars, manufactured within a specified period, to bring their vehicles to the authorised service centres for inspection or repairs.
These are voluntary recalls initiated by the manufacturer itself, because there is no law in India as yet that makes recall of vehicles mandatory. This means that if a manufacture wants to keep quiet about a problem it has detected in its vehicle, it can conceal this and do nothing at all. If the vehicle meets with a problem and the customer brings it to the service centre, the matter can be dealt at the local dealer level. At times one can also push the blame on the owner by saying: "you misused the vehicle". This has being the Indian way of dealing with it for the longest time.
But now many manufacturers are not keeping quiet and covering up the fact that they have discovered some problems in their vehicle. This is truly praiseworthy and a great example of ethical business practices - something many Indian companies are not known for. What also needs to be applauded is that many manufacturers are doing it, despite the negative impact on the image of both the brand and product. There are enough rivals who will highlight the problems and enough naïve consumers who will fall prey to the negatively presented views.
The truth is that when a manufacturer recalls its products, it's proving to its customers that it cares for their well-being and safety. It also establishes in the best manner possible that the manufacturer has not forgotten its customers after selling them a product. In my opinion, recalling a vehicle for repairs or checks is the pinnacle of aftersales service. Sadly, many Indian customers are not mature enough to appreciate this, because they have lived with the Indian culture of sweeping problems under the carpet. Alas, many in the media also sensationalise 'vehicle recalls' and make it look like the manufacturer is guilty of selling a defective product.
There is no denying that every manufacturer wants its products to be the best and its customers to be happy. They all also have various levels and type of quality control. Despite this, problems do happen sometimes. At times the manufacturer itself is responsible for the problem, and on other occasions it can be suppliers, vendors and so on. What is most important though is that the manufacturer has the 'conscience and courage' to 'recall its vehicles'.
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