Explained: Why Maruti Suzuki has recalled over 60,000 Smart Hybrid petrol cars

Maruti will inspect 63,493 vehicles of petrol SHVS of Ciaz, Ertiga and XL6 for a possible issue with the Motor Generator Unit (MGU), an important component of the vehicle's hybrid system.

In one of the biggest vehicle recalls in India, Maruti Suzuki India has announced a recall of over 60,000 units of the petrol version of the Smart Hybrid (SHVS) variants of the Ciaz, Ertiga and XL6 vehicle models.

What are the models under the scanner?

Models manufactured between January 1, 2019 and 21 November 2019 are the ones being recalled. Maruti will inspect 63,493 vehicles of petrol SHVS of Ciaz, Ertiga and XL6 for a possible issue with the Motor Generator Unit (MGU), an important component of the vehicle's hybrid system. A possible defect may have occurred in the MGU during manufacturing by an overseas global part supplier, Maruti said, adding that vehicles requiring replacement of faulty part will be retained for part replacement free of cost. Maruti Suzuki said dealers may make alternate mobility arrangements, if required. Starting Friday, owners of the suspected vehicles under this recall campaign will be contacted by Maruti Suzuki dealers for inspection and replacement of the faulty parts.

What is the MGU?

In the so-called ‘mild hybrid’ car models, such as the ones sold by Maruti under the SHVS badging, a belt drive is used to start the internal combustion engine through its motor–generator unit or MGU, which, once started, drives the engine motor-generator to charge the batteries. A problem with the MGU could impact the working of the SHVS mechanism.

What are customers supposed to do?

Customers of suspected vehicles can visit the company website and fill in the chassis number to check if their vehicle needs attention. The chassis number is embossed on the vehicle ID plate and is also in the vehicle invoice/registration documents.

What does the recall campaigns entail?

Recall campaigns are undertaken globally to rectify faults that may be potential safety defects. Earlier, in August, the company had announced a voluntary recall of 40,618 units of the WagonR (1 litre variant) manufactured between November 15, 2018 and August 12, 2019. Globally, a recall makes it mandatory for the manufacturer to inform the customer and rectify the issue. India does not have an official recall policy and automakers typically follow the voluntary code on vehicle recall set by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), a lobby group of vehicle makers. SIAM’s code of 2012 states that “if in the opinion of the manufacturer some vehicles have issues which pose a safety defect”, such vehicles are “voluntarily inspected and rectified” by the manufacturer or importer.

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