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China recalls more than 5 million vehicles in H1 2016

BEIJING – China recalled 5.376 million vehicles in the first half of 2016, roughly equaling the total number of vehicles recalled in 2015, according to a report on auto.ce.cn on July 11 citing data from the State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

In H1 2016, there were 69 recalls involving 30 vehicle brands and more than 5 million vehicles, more than twice the level of the same previous period. Among them, 17 recalls were caused by airbag failures. Volkswagen, Mazda, Toyota, Audi, Honda, Acura, Mitsubishi, Lexus, BMW and Infiniti recalled a total of 1.15 million vehicles due to airbag defects mostly involving Takata.

The recalled vehicles include luxury brands like Maserati, Aston Martin, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Volvo, Land Rover, Lexus, Infiniti and Acura, as well as mass-market brands like Hyundai, Volkswagen, Chrysler, Mazda, Toyota, Subaru, Honda, GM, Mitsubishi, Ford, Peugeot, Nissan, GAC-FCA, Chevrolet, Citroën, Suzuki and MINI, and Chinese brands like Geely, Great Wall and JMC. 

In the first six months of the year, there were three recalls breaking the 410,000 units record set by GAC-Honda last year with brands like Buick, Chevrolet, Honda and Toyota. Among them, the largest single recall reached 2.16 million units, setting a new record by far.

SAIC-GM announced that starting from August 15, it will recall vehicles equipped with third-generation 1.6L and 1.8L naturally aspirated engines totaling 2,160,779 units, including 833,922 Buick Excelles, 1,149,655 Chevrolet Cruzes, 158,965 Chevrolet Epicas and 18,237 Chevrolet Aveos. All the afore-mentioned models are versions from year 2010-2015.

Recalled models through June this year were mostly from traditional OEM brands from Germany, the U.S. and Japan with Volkswagen ranking first: six recall announcements with total recall number of over 330,000 units, roughly one recall per month. The next three ones after Volkswagen were Chrysler, Mitsubishi and Lexus, each of them had five recalls with total recall number reaching 119,029, 39,406 and 35,805 units respectively. Among them, imported ones were 642,980 units, accounting for 12 percent of the total recall.

Moreover, in January, Geely recalled 1,593 units of the Emgrand EC 8 due to side curtain air bag defects; in June, Geely and Geely Haoqing recalled 521 units of the EC7 and GC7 caused by transmission failure; Great Wall recalled 8,291 units of the C20R due to electric power steering problems, and JMC recalled 355 units of JMC Ford 2013 version micro bus with oil leakage risks.

Chinese brands have been denounced for low recall rates over the years: they recalled 1.26 million units in 2014, while the number decreased to 774,000 units in 2015. What is worse, they only recalled 10,409 units in H1 2016, accounting for less than 0.2 percent of the total recall volume, which saw the sharpest decline so far. The low recall rate of Chinese brands demonstrates their lack of confidence on product quality, according to Cui Dongshu, secretary general of China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).

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