Volkswagen to recall nearly 5-million cars in China to replace Takata airbags
Beijing/Shanghai — Volkswagen and its Chinese joint ventures, FAW-Volkswagen and SAIC Volkswagen, will recall 4.86-million vehicles in China due to potential issues with Takata airbags, a blow to the car maker in the world’s largest vehicle market.
The recall comes after Chinese watchdogs asked the German car maker as well as General Motors and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz to recall vehicles with Takata air bags earlier this year.
Official Chinese estimates show more than 20-million cars in China had air bags made by Takata, which have been linked to at least 16 deaths and 180 injuries globally.
The air bags have the potential to explode with too much force and spray shrapnel.
The defect led to the biggest recall in automotive history and the eventual bankruptcy of the Japanese maker.
Volkswagen told Reuters in an e-mailed statement on Thursday that after discussions, Chinese authorities had concluded the fault could occur in rare cases when the air bag was deployed, "which may create a potential safety risk".
"Acting upon advice from the Chinese safety authority, Volkswagen Group China therefore made this recall decision."
The car maker said it had not received any reports related to the issue affecting its vehicles globally, and that a parts analysis had found Takata air bag inflators — the suspected cause of the defect — were in "normal condition".
China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said VW China would recall 103,573 vehicles, FAW-Volkswagen 2.35-million vehicles and SAIC Volkswagen 2.4-million vehicles.
The watchdog said the recall would run from March next year into 2019.
Volkswagen said the car maker and its Chinese partners would provide free airbag replacements on the recalled cars.
Volkswagen, which also owns the high-end Audi brand, is not the only car maker hit by recalls in China related to Takata air bags.
As of the end of June this year, 24 out of 37 affected car makers had recalled 10.59-million vehicles. A further five had made plans to recall 1.26-million vehicles.
Volkswagen delivered 3.98-million vehicles in China last year, an increase of 12.2% on 2015, making it the biggest foreign car maker in the country.