Ford (F Quick QuoteF ) recently issued a voluntary recall for a few of its diesel vehicles sold in India. The vehicles recalled include the select diesel variants of Ford EcoSport, Ford Figo, Ford Freestyle and Ford Aspire. All these models were manufactured between Jan 1, 2020 and Jun 9, 2021. A total of 31,818 vehicles were impacted by the recall. The company called back the same on account of higher emission rates.
Amid the aggravating climate-change concerns, India adopted the strict BS-VI emission norms for its motorised two- and four-wheelers in April 2020. All the Ford models included in the latest recall had received their BS-VI upgrade by Ford India last year in compliance with the BS-VI emission norms applicable in the country.
However, much to the company’s dismay, it discovered that after using the vehicle for a certain period of time, the BS-VI engines developed an issue, which discharged higher emissions from the exhaust tail pipe. All the affected models comprising Figo, Freestyle, Aspire and EcoSport are powered by the same engine, which is the 1.5-litre 100PS/215Nm diesel powertrain.
The fault was detected during the in-service test procedures required by the BS-VI rules. Even though the affected cars will not cause a safety hazard with respect to vehicle functionality or drivability, they definitely violate the BS-VI standards. Hence, Ford needs to fix the snag as soon as possible.
Ford expects to inform customers owning the affected vehicles immediately and all the repairs will be done free of charge by the company. Still, the company urges customers to check if their vehicles are covered under the recall directive by visiting Ford India’s website and entering the vehicle identification number (VIN). Conforming to the coverage regulation, they are then recommended to get their vehicles inspected in a dealership at the earliest.
This is not the first time that Ford recalled its vehicles in India. In May 2021, the company’s bread and butter model, the EcoSport, was recalled due to a safety glitch that surfaced in the model. The child lock in the car was found to be defective as the doors could be opened from inside, despite activating the lock. This defeated the entire purpose of having the lock in the first place. Consequently, 927 vehicles were recalled, which were serviced and returned in 45 minutes.
Dearborn-based Ford commenced operations in India more than 25 years ago. The automaker sells vehicles like Figo, Freestyle, Aspire, EcoSport, Endeavour and Mustang in India. However, this American brand’s existence in India now seems in murky waters.
The foremost reason could be the second wave of the pandemic in India that derailed the recovery momentum of the country’s auto industry, which was all set for a comeback after the first wave. Besides, the biggest blow to Ford’s operations in the nation was the calling off of its proposed automotive joint venture with Mahindra & Mahindra. In absence of a partner, the company may have no choice but to shut down its manufacturing activities in India. Reportedly, the carmaker may wind up its business in the two factories, namely Maraimalainagar in Tamil Nadu and Sanand in Gujarat.
On an optimistic note, the Ford brand will most likely continue to serve customers in India even in the worst-case scenario of both plants being shuttered. Ford India is expected to follow the recently implemented Brazil paradigm of stopping local manufacturing and selling only imported niche cars in the country.
Ford, peers of which include General Motors (GM Quick QuoteGM ) , Tesla (TSLA Quick QuoteTSLA ) and Volkswagen (VWAGY Quick QuoteVWAGY ) , currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.