In a shocking revelation, General Motors India has admitted about illegal practices it committed with the Tavera Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV). The Indian subsidiary of the American auto giant, following an internal probe, revealed that testing norms were violated while sending Tavera for inspection. According to the company, the new variants of the Tavera were re-fitted with already approved engines for meeting the emission norms. Furthermore, General Motors India also told that in order to comply with less tight emission norms, manipulation was done to the weight of many of its cars.
Reportedly, the auto maker wrote a letter to the government on 18th July, which mentioned that the firm, following these investigations and their conclusions, had suspended the manufacturing of two variants of Tavera. The letter, written to government ministries and departments, said, “Recently, the company has discovered information that it wishes to report to you...investigations initiated by the company have revealed that over a period of time some employees of the company engaged in the practice of identifying engines with lower emission which were fine-tuned and kept aside to be used for installation on vehicles during inspection.”
This letter contained details and names of specific variants that were involved in the manipulation. According to the letter, the Tavera BS-III was found equipped with pre-approved engines while weights of both BS-III and BS-IV versions were manipulated. There are strict regulations on lighter vehicles; however, General Motors India modified the weight to go through lesser stringent norms. General Motors India, in the letter, also mentioned that it sought to rectify the weight issue for both versions. “The company has set up a team of engineers and compliance professionals to urgently find a solution to ensure compliance... the team has made substantial progress towards modifying all variants of the Tavera BS-IV model.”
On 24th of July, General Motors India had announced that it recalled over 1.14 lakh units of Chevrolet Tavera, which were produced during the 2005-2013 period. According to the announcement, this was done to rectify a few issues related to emission and specification. The firm had put to use pre-selected engines in the production of Multi Purpose Vehicles that were picked for testing by officials.
Government officials have expressed their shock with respect to this crime committed by General Motors India. “Vehicles are tested in a random sequence. So it is not clear how they were able to use pre-tested engines for the vehicles being tested. If we can ascertain any irregularities and violations under the Motor Vehicles Act, it will be punishable under Section 182A of the law”, a government official said. Potentially, if these violations come under the section mentioned by the officials, General Motors India would have to face a monetary penalty. However, in case of establishment of widespread collusion, far more serious provisions in the Indian Penal Code could come into play.
In order to investigate this case, a committee has been set up by the road transport ministry, which will probe the testing facilities of both the company and the government. The committee is going to be headed by Nitin Gokarn, Chief Executive Officer and Project Director of National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project. On the other hand, General Motors India has told the government that it will continue investigations by taking assistance from external counsels. Also, if any developments were to take place, it would keep the government informed with latest updates.