Reacting to consumer complaints of insufficient cooling, Fiat has been replacing air conditioners in petrol powered Grande Punto hatchback and Linea sedans sold in India.
Fiat started the process, under which customers are being contacted by its dealerships and offered the replacements free of charge, in October 2010. The process should be completed by next March. The company told the Hindustan Times that this does not amount to a “recall” and is merely a goodwill gesture to redress a consumer complaint.
Production cars started getting the new air conditioner at the Ranjandgaon plant in October.
“This is a goodwill gesture on our part where we are acting proactively to a minor issue we felt in the air conditioning system of all petrol powered Punto and Linea,” said a Fiat India spokesperson.
“We received complaints mostly from the north and some western parts of the country that the ACs were not cooling the cabin adequately in temperatures of over 40 degrees [C]. Hence all those customers in those regions are being contacted individually and offered this free of cost upgrade.”
The exercise does not cover diesel vehicles as Fiat said it had not received any complaints. The firm did not divulge details of the number of petrol cars affected or upgraded.
By the end of September 2010, Fiat had sold around 21,000 units of the Linea and 20,000 units of the Punto. Around half were petrol powered.
In October 2010, the Hindustan Times had reported that Fiat was facing complaints on poor performance of air conditioning in the two cars. The company had, however, refused to respond to queries.
Though no carmaker officially recalls its vehicles in India due to the lack of regulations making this compulsory, other carmakers such as Maruti Suzuki, Honda Siel and Toyota have replaced parts in their cars last year using a similar method, the paper noted.