Who is to Blame ?

Sunday, July 26, 2015 Life

The quality issues and niggles faced by the Indian automobile industry.
Cars and bikes always give you the adrenaline rush when pushed hard. Although it is recommended to drive safely and responsibly, what if the safety is out of your control while you are on road? What if the bike/car which we Indians consider as a status symbol cracks into pieces humiliating the owner in front of everyone on the road? And most importantly, what if the owner loses his/her life?

Well, this article brings the quality issues and niggles that the Indian automobile industry and its fellow consumers face usually. Niggles can be easy to live with, but not without a soul! The quality has gone to pathetic levels and sometimes it can take off precious lives too.

It is about the most popular entry level sports bike in the country, and it’s the most preferred one too. Yes, you have guessed that right! It is the Bajaj Pulsar. This bike has ruled the roost in India in the entry-level sports bike segment for more than a decade and maintaining its position for such a long time is really hard even after the competition from many Indian and foreign players which has become fiercer. Such is the popularity of the bike, since Bajaj provides an excellent value for money quotient here.

Bajaj Motorcycles has launched the “Bajaj Pulsar RS200”with much fanfare since this is the first fully faired sports bike from the Pune based manufacturer’s stable(RS stands for Race Sport, LOL!). Being the most value for money product, the company also claims that it is the most profitable two-wheeler manufacturer in India, but that should not come at the price of pathetic quality, right?

Mr.Mohsin Patel who lives in Borivali, Mumbai has been riding with his wife on a Bajaj Pulsar RS200 which is a Non-ABS model.In an emergency situation, he has applied the brakes hard due to which the alloy wheels has shattered into pieces causing an accident on the spot. Both the rider and the pillion were seriously injured and were taken to the hospital. Thank god, they didn’t lose their lives.

Despite being such a new product, the quality levels should have gone up from the older models, but this one took a nose dive! Even some users report breakage of the “Clip-on” handlebars of the RS200 as well. Though Bajaj does not manufacture all the parts, it should’ve had strong quality control while outsourcing parts from suppliers. Many consumers complain that the rim area that’s adjoining the wheel is very thin and so the wheels are brittle. Though Bajaj is heavily campaigning on the positives of ABS(Antilock Braking System) during panic breaking, it becomes useless in this case.

The Bajaj Pulsar 200NS is the first bike of the “All-New” pulsar series, so Bajaj uses parts sharing between Pulsar 200NS, Pulsar AS150, Pulsar AS200 and Pulsar RS200. Even the 200NS has faced the same incident and we’re not sure of the batches of bikes that were affected by this issue. So if anyone uses a Bajaj Pulsar series mentioned above, do get your bike checked at the nearest authorized service centers!

If you think Bajaj is the only brand that has received the flak, then you are wrong! Yamaha is another famous Japanese brand and the same problem has occurred with its most popular offering as well, the Yamaha FZ. Some pictures have surfaced online recently about the alloy wheels of the FZ ripped off to pieces!

These companies manufacture world-class bikes but, when it comes to India they are going by the pathetic quality management and selling them at sky-high prices thereby increasing the profitability!
The purpose of using an alloy wheel in a bike is that the rims should not break off; instead it should take up the hardest of the beating caused by bending the rims, thereby giving the rider some chance to stop the vehicle. Additional info is that alloy wheels are made of casting process and we seriously don’t know how it got shattered!
Bajaj has responded to this issue by sending its team of engineers to the spot to investigate the case and to contact the affected user. At least the couple is alive for them to see the Bajaj engineers! What if they are not? We sincerely hope the couple to get well soon!

This is a critical time for Bajaj to recall all the bikes and replace the rims free of cost to save the reputation it has among Indians and to save the Pulsar brand as well.We sincerely suggest ARAI or SIAM to take up this matter seriously and to come up with stringent rules for quality checks.

Update – Bajaj has released the final report for the cause of alloy wheel failure. Firstly, a rigid object has crashed into the front alloy wheel at a speed of 80 km/hr which has caused the alloys to break and not due to sudden braking. Secondly, three spokes of the alloy shattered due to which the other two could not withstand the pressure causing failure & the impact on the front forks confirm the same. And lastly, the affected guy says that he has blackened out after the incident and cannot remember anything that has happened. He has also closed his facebook account with which he has shared those pictures. This brings suspicious thoughts whether Bajaj has silently compensated the affected consumer to put off this issue!

Anyway, now we really do not know who is to be blamed!