In the first-ever recall by a two-wheeler OEM in India, HMSI is replacing the faulty front brake master cylinder assembly on its CBR 250R.
On November 19, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) announced the recall of its CBR 250R standard variant motorcycle. The ABS-equipped variant is not under the scanner. The official announcement came following customer complaints of limited effectiveness of the front brake from around eight owners of the sportsbike at authorised dealer workshops in the last
This sudden flurry for rectification of the fault on the customer’s side upped the ante for HMSI’s service team at dealer outlets. It was not long before the problem was thrashed out, studied in detail, and analysed with the outcome throwing up the possibility of the front brake suffering from limited ineffectiveness in certain conditions like when the brake lever is applied very slowly. However, in normal riding conditions when the rider suddenly applies the brake or with quick action, the front brake was found to be working fine.
While the Neemrana-based Nissin Brake India supplies to the ABS-equipped CBR 250R, the Chakan-based Brembo Brake India supplies to the standard variant. Autocar Professional attempted to get Brembo Brake India's point of view as to what exactly was the problem with the front brake master cylinder assembly, but the company's response was not forthcoming.
To set the problem right, HMSI, in a first of its kind recall of two-wheelers in the country, decided to issue a recall for 11,500 standard variant CBR 250Rs manufactured between March 2011-September 2012 at its Manesar plant.
“Since the riding habit of a customer cannot be controlled, Honda proactively took a call to recall all the CBR 250R standard bikes and replace the front brake master cylinder assembly wherein the problem lies,” explains Y S Guleria, vice-president (sales and marketing), HMSI.
Showing concern for its customers and commitment to safety as well as to retain customer loyalty to the brand, Honda is bearing the complete cost for the replacement of the front brake master cylinder assembly.
Incidentally, all the 11,500 bikes recalled are still in their warranty periods but the two-wheeler maker has specified that the part replacement extends to even those bikes that are out of warranty.
Working under SIAM’s guidelines, HMSI had informed both the apex industry body as well as the Transport Ministry and the Heavy Industries Ministry in advance about the proposed recall action.
HMSI’s recall has won plaudits from both industry and customers. “Honda could well have chosen to keep quiet about the CBR 250R’s faulty brake and done the replacement job quietly when the bikes came for their next servicing as they were all in the warranty period, but it did not do so. Instead, it went ahead and termed it a recall,” says Vishnu Mathur, director general of SIAM, approvingly.
He feels the first two-wheeler recall in the country will have a positive effect on the customer as it shows the concern of the manufacturer for buyers of its products. Also, concern for the customer and commitment to safety has been increasingly manifesting itself in the industry and post the announcement of the voluntary recall code by SIAM earlier this year, three recalls have been reported by manufacturers in India (Ford Figo, Honda City and the CBR 250R). Significantly, in all cases, SIAM guidelines were followed to the last letter.
Effective from July 1 this year, SIAM’s Voluntary Code on Vehicle Recall necessitates that OEMs display the recall information on the company website. This communication will also have to be sent to the vehicle owners. Besides SIAM, government ministries such as the Ministry of Heavy Industries and the Transport Ministry would also display the information of the recall.
While authorised Honda dealers have begun to inform customers who bought their motorcycles during the period under recall, either through telephone or email, customers can also visit the HMSI website for information regarding the replacement of the faulty part.
Replacement of the faulty front brake master cylinder assembly at all Honda exclusive authorised dealerships that sport a dedicated CBR service space is expected to be completed within three months.
Within 24 hours of the recall announcement, around 500 customers had logged onto Honda’s website and booked the service date with HMSI dealers, according to Guleria.
At the time of this issue going to press, HMSI had received 6,700 bookings, of which 500 had been attended to.
Honda is offering its customers prior appointments to avoid prolonged waits for vehicle inspection and replacement, if required, will be carried out within an hour.
Guleria says that since Honda is a global company, a vehicle recall is not something novel. Hence, whenever recalls have occurred they have only enhanced the ownership experience of the customer in the product and further strengthened faith in the brand since the buyer is both mature and understands that it is a proactive action by the manufacturer.
To find out how the recall exercise is progressing, Autocar Professional spoke to a CBR 250R standard variant owner. Nikhil Misra says he is satisfied with the company’s recall action and subsequent replacement of the front brake master cylinder assembly. The component replacement on his bike was completed within 40 minutes at a Gurgaon dealership.
Since Misra is a resident of Rohtak in Haryana where he bought his Honda, he booked an appointment with the Rohtak dealer on November 19. The very same day he received a call from the dealer and thereafter a booking for checking his motorcycle. The replacement of the faulty part at the Gurgaon dealership was carried out within two days.
According to Misra, his CBR 250R was running satisfactorily since it is only a year old and well within the two-year warranty period. He visited the dealership only after HMSI’s intimation about a possible fault in the front brake. On arriving early morning on the specified date at the authorised workshop, he saw three other CBR 250Rs being worked on. In addition to the part replacement, the service team also gave his bike a wash and shine free of cost, he adds.
Overall, Honda does not feel the vehicle recall exercise will have any negative effect on sales as its global experience has shown otherwise. What’s more, the CBR 250R has won the maximum number of awards in a single year including the Bike of the Year 2012 from Autocar India.
In this fiscal, HMSI has sold 3,338 units of the premium motorcycle between April and October 2012. Going by this recall initiative, the company would have won much goodwill from the motorcycling community, something which will stand it in good stead over the coming years.