Aug 9, 2008

Business - Skoda recalls Fabia

NEW DELHI: Czech automaker Skoda has recalled the petrol version of its Fabia hatchback for rectifying a technical glitch that was affecting fuel efficiency and performance of the car.

According to sources, the company has called back the 1200cc and 1400c variants of the Fabia petrol for a "technical upgradation". When contacted, the company confirmed that it had recalled the car, but blamed "inconsistent fuel quality" behind the step.
Due to inconsistent fuel quality in India, Skoda India has done minor change in the software to attain better fuel economy and driving performance, the company said.

Skoda is assembling the Fabia at its Aurangabad factory. Many of the critical components on the car are imported and may not be suitable for local conditions or available fuel quality. According to sources, several customers had experienced problems with the car and some even complained that the brake pedal became hard, while driving at a high speed.

Skoda officials said they would rectify the problem free of cost. "We are not charging anything for this and customers would just need to spend about 20-30 minutes at the dealerships," a company spokesperson said. All manufacturers do constant upgradations of their products so that the customer always enjoys the best quality and service, the company further said.

Fabia, which also has a diesel version, is expected to lead Skoda's charge in India and get volumes for the company. The company had launched the 1200cc version of the car only in May this year to compete with models like Suzuki Swift and Hyundai Getz.

Fuel efficiency is a very important factor in determining the success of cars not only in India, but even in developed markets like the US and Europe, considering high price of crude. Recalls for replacing faulty parts or rectifying technical glitches are not a common phenomenon in India as companies fear negative publicity would impact demand for the model. Globally it is not uncommon to see that companies are making recall announcements.

Last year, Honda India had recalled 2310 units of its luxury sedan Accord sold in 2005 and 2006 for replacement of a faulty relay in the fuel-pump of. This company had done this as part of a global recall. In 2005, Maruti had also recalled about 500 units of its Zen model for coolant leakage. Bajaj Auto had also recalled its scooter Kristal last year for a fuel pump problem.

Skoda has lined up an ambitious strategy for the Indian market. The company not only plans to bring in an all-new small car in the Rs 3-5 lakh range but will also introduce an all-new low-price "successor" to its Octavia sedan that would be priced below Rs 10 lakh. It also plans to bring in 'Greenline' Fabia range, currently sold in major European markets.

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