India is a growing market for car manufacturers and for the same reason we have seen several new and existing brands coming up with exciting products. Most of the manufacturers have been trying to offer more features and safer cars for their customers. Old cars used to come with a full size spare wheel but, now things have changed. Many cars and SUVs that are available on sale now offer space savers or smaller size spare wheel. A customer recently who was not happy about this recently took this matter to consumer forum and the consumer court had ordered dealer and the brand to compensate the customer for not offering a full size spare wheel.
The incident happened in Kerala’s Kasargod. C. Madhavan had recently purchased a new car and discovered that the car came with a smaller size spare wheel. The customer was not happy with this and he took matter to consumer court. The court after analysing the matter came to a conclusion that the smaller size spare wheel affects the handling characteristic of the vehicle and even if the consumer is stuck at a place where there are no workshops nearby, the spare wheel is of no use.
The court also mentioned that the cost of the car includes the cost of stepney or spare wheel and the manufacturer is entitled to provide a full size spare wheel. The vehicle manufacturer and the dealer mentioned that the spare wheel or the space saver in a vehicle is offered as a option so that the customer can drive the vehicle to a nearby workshop to get his flat tyre fixed.
The court after hearing both parties passed a judgment in favour of the customer. The car manufacturer and the dealer should pay Rs 20,000 along with Rs 5,000 as the court expenses to the customer for the proceedings. Kasargod consumer forum passed this judgement.
last year, Indian government had changed the rule about spare wheel in a car through an amendment in the Central Motor Vehicle Rules. The new rule was introduced to free up space in boot that was otherwise occupied by spare wheel. According to the new amendment, a car that can seat up 8 people and has tubeless tyres with tyre pressure monitoring system or tyre repair kit can avoid keeping a spare wheel.
There are several cars in the Indian market that are offered with TPMS. Recently Ford introduced a new version of EcoSport with no spare wheel mounted on the tailgate. The manufacturer is offering puncture repair kit to the customers instead. In this case, the report does not mention which car C. Madhavan had bought.
The new rule is applicable on all kinds of vehicles but, the main motive is to help electric vehicles. This amendment will help free up more space in the boot so that the electric vehicle manufacturers can install larger battery packs in the car to increase the driving range. Government has been doing several things in the past to popularise use of electric vehicles.