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Bengaluru, NFAPost: As on 12 March, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry has notified the recall policy for all defective vehicles manufactured in the country, which will be effective starting 1 April.

Govt has announced an imposition of fine up to Rs.10 lakh, Rs.20 lakh, Rs.50 lakh or Rs.100 lakh depending on the model and types of vehicles (two-wheelers, three-wheelers or four-wheelers) that have to be recalled as per the new policy.

“The vehicle manufacturer has to pay this amount to the Government for each such bunch of defective vehicles,” an official told BusinessLine. A draft notification for the vehicle recall policy was issued by the Ministry mid-last year.

Consumers are invited to lodge their complaints related to defects in their vehicles on an official portal dedicated for this purpose. Following the recent trend in road accidents due to quality issues in some vehicles, India will be undergoing a dynamic shift from the present voluntary vehicle recall policy to a mandatory one based on native testing standards adopted by the individual manufacturers.

Quality Testing of Vehicles

The new norms dictate that the vehicle maker or importer will be responsible for testing each type of vehicle in their production lineup. If any such tests do fail, the government can notify a recall to the manufacturer, importer or retrofitter of the vehicle. Consequently, the government will also have to notify consumers or buyers of such vehicles about the inherent risks and the reason for such recall.

“After sending the final notice to customers, vehicle manufacturers, importer or retrofitter, may monitor such cases through their database or authorised dealer network and address them as and when reported for rectification.

“The manufacturer, importer, or retrofitter of the motor vehicle shall have an option of closure of recall after one year from recall release date. However, on completion of three years from the recall release date, the recall may be deemed automatically inactive,” the Road Ministry notification said.

“There are two more notifications — that will be issued — on the vehicle recall policy, which will bring further clarity,” sources in the know told the publication.

Vehicle Recall Policy in Foreign Countries

Comparing the foreign policy of vehicle recalls, SP Singh, Senior Fellow at Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT), told BusinessLine that there is scope to make this policy more consumer-friendly. “Compared to this vehicle recall policy, those in the developed countries like the US, Japan and Europe are much more stricter. As per global norms, if five per cent of a type of vehicle produced are found defective, then the entire lot of vehicles have to be recalled.”

“If the vehicle owner is unaware of a manufacturing defect, then the liability of such cases is borne by the owner or insurance company,” Singh said.

It is still unclear if tyre recall cases are covered under India’s automobile recall policy. However, the tyres factory-fitted by the vehicle maker could become a major liability for accidents if it harbours unknown defects in the production stage. Consequently, it is imperative for domestic vehicle makers in India to adhere to stricter vehicle recall regimes for the export market including US, Europe and Japan who follow international recall standards across the globe.

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