Tata Motors to replace starter motor in over 1,40,000 Nano cars

Tata Motors is replacing the starter motors in all Nano cars, numbering over 1,40,000, and has so far replaced starters in 50,000 of the small cars.

The company has asked all Nano owners to bring back their vehicles for free replacement of the starter motors, in an exercise expected to cost the company around Rs110 crore.

While this could be the biggest recalls in India's automobile history, Tata Motors insists that the current exercise is only an out-of-turn and ''voluntary'' upgrade offer to its customers.

According to the company, it is changing the old starter motor with a new and ''better'' one.

"We have devised a better starter motor and so we are upgrading it in our old Nanos for improved performance. We have not received any complaint for this and this is not a recall," a Tata Motors spokesperson said.

Tata Motors said it is changing the starter motors in all Nanos sold before the launch of the `Nano 2012' in November. The company has sold a total of 1,40,428 Nanos till  November 2011, since the car's launch in 2009, according to data available with the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

The new Nano, introduced on 21 November 2011, is an upgraded vehicle with a facelift, a more powerful engine, better fuel efficiency and new features. Tata Motors, however, has kept the price of the car unchanged in a bid to boost sales (See: Tata Motors boosts Nano's engine, gives better mileage).

Tata Motors had, in November 2010, asked about 70,000 Nano buyers to get their cars fitted with better fire safety devices free-of-cost after a series of instances of the car catching fire.

While Tata Motors has kept its promise of providing a cheap option for car buyers, customers are reported to be not so happy with the performance of the small car so far.

The replacement offers are part of the company's efforts to satisfy customers.

Almost all carmakers in India, including Honda Siel Cars (defective window switches in 72,115 units of City sedan), Toyota Kirloskar Motor (a faulty inlet pipe to the fuel tank in 41,000 units of Ethios sedan and Liva small car), have recently recalled vehicles for manufacturing defects.