Indian Automobile Industry
Indian Automobile Industry The Indian automobile industry is growing at the speed of a rocket. It is one of the largest in the world with an annual production of 23.37 million vehicles in the financial year 2014-2015. The latest rise in the Indian middle class indulging in buying more with an increased purchasing power has started hopes for a positive trend in the economic future of at least the automobile industry.
“India is also a prominent auto exporter and has strong export growth potentials for the near future. In 2014-15, automobile exports grew by 15 per cent over the last year. In addition, several initiatives by the Government of India and the major automobile players in the Indian market are expected to make India a leader in the Two Wheeler and Four Wheeler market in the world by 2020.” Thus, there is a dire need for a suitable product liability policy in India. COPYRIGHT
Product liability is the liability that arises when in manufacturing goods for wholesale or resale the good has a defect and results in an injury or has adverse consequences. The injured person can ask for compensation and recover the damages caused, as it is the liability of the manufacturer. There are, broadly, two types of defects in the product:
- Product defects,
- Design defects.
The field of Product liability deals with the sale of a defective product causing injury to the end user of that product. The seller of such defective goods is liable for the harm caused. Only a commercial supplier is liable under a product liability theory.
The two kinds of theories of “strict liability” and “contractual liability” apply to these Product liability theories. The only defence available is when the injured is also guilty of contributory negligence or when the product is misused by the person i.e. when the product is not used in the manner it is “intended” to be used. Hence, when the automobiles have manufacturing defects and are classified as “faulty”, there is a need for “product recall”. A product recall is a new reality for Indian automobile manufacturers. In the last few months, India has witnessed a rise in recalls where brands like Honda, Maruti Suzuki, Audi, Nissan and others have had to face it. India does not have a codified written policy or law that may be enforceable or which may act as guidelines for product recall. The safety of the customers is the prior responsibility of the manufacturer and is a “non-negotiable” term. Vaguely enough the closest available resourceful reference points are the society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers Voluntary Recall Policy and the Consumer Protection Act.
The most pertinent of the available legislation in India has been the “Central Motor Vehicles Act, 1989”, which is used for filling claims along the lines of product liability in case of automobile defects. The Act governs the automobile safety standards with specifics like construction, equipment and maintenance of vehicles and is the closest attempt to prescribing rules for emission limits.
In the case of Abhaya Kumar Panda v Bajaj Auto Ltd. the court had upheld that “the manufacturers should not sell a product, in this case, a vehicle, that suffers from any major defect, and if it escapes detection at quality check, the product should be promptly withdrawn from the market or from the consumer, voluntarily, once the manufacturers come to know of the defect.” The Central Motor vehicles Rules rely on the standards set by the BIS as commercial fuel specifications and the Automotive Industry Standards (AIS) given by the “Automotive Research Association of India”. Non-compliance of the
 Indian Brand Equity Foundation, “Automobile Industry in India”