Wed, Dec 28, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Honda destroying 1,000 flood-damaged cars in Thailand to reassure customers


A Honda worker lifts a flood-damaged car at the Honda factory in Ayutthaya Province, Thailand, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Japanese automaker Honda yesterday began destroying more than 1,000 cars in Thailand to reassure customers that no vehicles damaged in the country’s recent flood crisis will ever be sold.

The scrapping process at Honda’s plant in the central province of Ayutthaya was expected to take one month, the company said in a statement.

The plant is located in the Rojana Industrial Park, where heavy flooding in early October brought production to a halt and aerial pictures showed hundreds of new cars submerged in muddy water.

“While we were able to relocate many new cars that were awaiting shipment to a safe area, 1,055 vehicles that remained in the plant were finally damaged by the flood,” said Pitak Pruittisarikorn, executive vice president of Honda Automobile Thailand.

“We will not sell any of the damaged cars to customers, or sell or reuse any of the parts,” he added.

Most of the cars to be scrapped are mid-sized City sedans and Brio and Jazz hatchbacks. Production has yet to resume at the factory.

Meanwhile, India’s Tata Motors offered on Monday to replace the starter motor on all old Nano models, but said the move was not related to safety concerns surrounding the world’s cheapest car.

The five-seater hatchback, which has suffered a series of fires since its launch in 2009, costs as little as 140,880 rupees (US$2,770) for the no-frills model.

A Tata Motors spokesman said the company was offering the replacement starter motors for cars produced between July 2009 and October this year because “we have a new one and it further improves the car’s performance.”

“There are no safety worries,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Tata spokesman would not disclose the cost of the upgrade, but the Finance Chronicle newspaper said the company would spend up to 1.1 billion rupees replacing the starter motors of 145,000 Nanos.

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