26 June, 2015, Mangalore: Nestle's Maggie Noodles isn't the only dangerous goods in the Indian market. Have you noticed that Hyundai cars catch fire ever so often – whether on the road or in parking? Is our government neglecting to safeguard the lives of Indian vehicle-owners by pampering multinational companies? Why is the Transport Commissioner of each state passing such cars – proven dangerous on Indian roads -- to be sold to unwary customers?
In a scathing open letter to Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari sent on Monday, Mr Prakash Rao (98452 13305, firstname.lastname@example.org), former managing director of Bhutan-based Tashi Group, says, "Recall of goods due to manufacturing defects is unheard of in India. Multinationals like Hyundai Motor India Ltd. are knowingly selling faulty products to Indian customers, putting our lives at risk. They believe that the Indian government does not take action to protect its citizens – and earlier governments have proven them right! Will they be proven right again by Modi-sarkar?"
Rao's outrage was triggered by Hyundai Fluidic Verna Car (KA-19-MC-5246), parked in his sister's car shed in Mangalore, catching fire on Independence Day last year. Despite lengthy correspondence, the company has not revealed the contents of its inspection report as to the cause of the fire. In its replies, Hyundai blandly states, "Your vehicle was inspected by our team at our workshop Advaith Motors on 2/09/2014 & 3/09/2014. Accordingly we would like to confirm to you that the reported concern in your car is not due to manufacturing defect. Please don't have any apprehensions in this regard."
|The burnt car in Lata Rao's car-shed. Image: http://tinyurl.com/Burnt-Hyundai-car|
|The charred engine. Image: http://tinyurl.com/Charred-Hyundai-Verna|
Rao is disturbed. "My daughter in Delhi has bought a Hyundai Fluidic Verna and my daughter in Mumbai has bought a Hyundai Elantra on my advice, and now I realize my confidence in Hyundai vehicles was totally unjustified and therefore I now fear for my children's safety," he laments.
Rao has found that he is not alone in his plight. His letter to the Road Transport Minister contains a dozen examples of various Hyundai models catching fire in various Indian cities. Scanned copy of this letter: http://tinyurl.com/Nitin-Gadkari-Open-Letter
RAO'S LETTER IS REPRODUCED BELOW:
Mr Nitin Gadkari,
Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways,
Transport Bhawan, Sansad Marg,
New Delhi 110001.
Dated: 22nd June,2015.
Mr P Radhakrishnan, MoS, Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways
Shri Abhay Damle, Director, Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT)
Mrs. Rashmi Urdhwareshe, Director, Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI)
Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Karnataka
Mr. Bo Shin Seo, Managing Director, Hyundai Motor India Ltd.
Hyundai cars routinely catch fire because of manufacturing defects;
Why are these models given government approval?
Dear Shri Gadkari,
Greetings on completion of one year in your ministry. We trust that you, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, are willing to take strong steps towards good governance.
I am writing to you not as an aggrieved customer, but as a concerned citizen. What worries me is that India is a second-class market where shoddy goods can be sold without fear of the law. Recall of goods due to manufacturing defects is unheard of in India. Multinationals like Hyundai Motor India Ltd. are knowingly selling faulty products to Indian customers, putting our lives at risk. They believe that the Indian government does not take action to protect its citizens – and earlier governments have proven them right! Will they be proven right again by Modi-sarkar?
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Prakash Krishna Rao. After staying abroad as a director of overseas companies, I now live a peaceful retired life with my wife in Mangaluru, our native place. My family and I are the not-so-proud owners of many Hyundai cars, including my Hyundai Fluidic Verna, which showed us on Independence Day that we are second-class citizens in our own country.
On 15th August 2014, at about 7 pm, when Prime Minister Modi's inspiring speech was playing on all channels, my cousin sister Lata Rao saw flashes of light outside her bungalow. Going out, she found that my Hyundai Fluidic Verna Car (KA-19-MC-5246), parked in her car shed, was burning. She and her neighbours tried to extinguish the flames, but in vain. The fire brigade arrived and extinguished the fire after considerable time. I shudder to think what might have happened if the fire had reached the petrol tank; it could have exploded, endangering the lives of my sister and her neighbours!
Photos of my Hyundai vehicle are enclosed. They can be downloaded from http://tinyurl.com/Hyundai-Verna-burnt-pix
My Hyundai Verna, bought in May 2012, was still under warranty and it was regularly maintained at the authorized workshop. There was no short circuit in the car shed. The car shed was clean and vacant, and nothing was being stored there. There was no lightning, thunder or rain on that day.
After the representatives of Hyundai Motor India Ltd. (HMIL) and its dealer Advaith Hyundai took the burnt car to their workshop and performed a technical examination, they refused to share their report with me. In a letter dated 10th Sept 2014, they wrote, "Your vehicle was inspected by our team at our dealer workshop Advaith Hyundai on 2/09/2014 & 3/09/2014. Accordingly, we would like to confirm to you that the reported concern in your car is not due to any manufacturing defect." This reply evades the question: What caused the fire in the engine compartment of my Hyundai Verna? Is it faulty wiring? If not due to any manufacturing defect, why does a stationary car suddenly burn up?
I had a lengthy exchange of letters with HMIL in this regard, which are enclosed for you.
The letters can be downloaded from http://tinyurl.com/Hyundai-Verna-letters
Sir, many Hyundai cars have been spontaneously catching fire in India, but HMIL has refused to take responsibility. This is evident from the correspondence of many other unfortunate owners of Hyundai cars, available on the internet.
TWELVE RECENT HYUNDAI CAR FIRES IN INDIA:
- Goa, January 2015: Hyundai i20 started burning on Mumbai-Goa Highway near Mandovi bridge. See video: http://tinyurl.com/Hyundai-i20-Goa
- Bangalore, November 2014 –Hyundai i20 burnt to ashes at a dealership during bumper replacement. http://tinyurl.com/Hyundai-i20-Dealer-fire
- Gurgaon, June 2014 – Hyundai Santro spontaneously caught fire on the road, killing two of its three occupants. http://tinyurl.com/Hyundai-Santro-Gurgaon
- Bangalore, November 2013 – A couple had a narrow escape when their Hyundai i20 caught fire. http://tinyurl.com/Bangalore-Hyundai-i20
- Mumbai, October 2013 – In two separate incidents, two new Hyundai Eon cars caught fire. http://tinyurl.com/Two-Hyundai-Eon-Mumbai
- Jharkhand, September 2012 – Hyundai i20 developed a fireball under its bonnet while on the road. The occupants narrowly escaped. http://tinyurl.com/Hyundai-i20-Jharkhand
- New Delhi, April 2012 – Hyundai Accent caught fire on Ghazipur flyover. http://tinyurl.com/Hyundai-Accent-Delhi
- Hyderabad, March 2012 – Hyundai i10 caught fire while being taken out of parking. http://tinyurl.com/Hyundai-i10-Hyderabad
- April 2011 – A brand-new Hyundai Verna burst into flames on a highway. The family managed to escape, but lost all their cash, luggage, mobile phones, etc. http://tinyurl.com/Hyundai-Verna-highway
- Kolkata, November 2010 – A Hyundai i20 burst into flames. See video. http://tinyurl.com/Hyundai-i20-Kolkata
- New Delhi – A Hyundai i20 burned in a busy road near ITO in New Delhi. See video http://tinyurl.com/Hyundai-i20-New-Delhi
- Bangalore, June 2009 – A 10-month-old Hyundai i10 caught fire upon ignition. http://tinyurl.com/Hyundai-10-ignition
In USA, Canada and Australia, Hyundai Motor recalls millions of cars for less serious manufacturing defects, such as faulty brake lights and child-restraint seats! But in India, HMIL avoids taking responsibility. Mr Gadkari, Sir, Hyundai Motor clearly believes that human life is cheap in India. We would like to ask you and Modi-ji: Is this true?
Sir, like myself and my family, many Indians are waiting for a clear reply from you.
Prakash Krishna Rao
3 – B, 3RD Floor,
Opposite Circuit House,
Mangaluru – 575004,
Cell No. +919845213305
HYUNDAI CONTACT DETAILS FOR JOURNALISTS WISHING TO GET THE "OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY":
Mr. Bo Shin Seo,
Managing Director & CEO,
Hyundai Motor India Ltd.,
2nd,5th & 6th Floor, Corporate One,
Baani Building, Plot No. 5,
Jasola, New Delhi - 110 025.
Customer Care Service,
Hyundai Motor India Ltd.
Fax: 011 66022201
Tel: 011 66022000
I have some more numbers of Hyundai representatives, but they may not be authorized to respond. All my attempts to get a proper response or rebuttal from Hyundai were unsuccessful.
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