Chinese arm of the German auto maker Volkswagen AG along with its Chinese joint ventures FAW-Volkswagen and SAIC Volkswagen will recall 4.86 million vehicles in China due to potential issues with Japanese Takata Corp air bags. This is considered to be one of the biggest blow to the carmaker in the world’s largest auto market. The recall comes after Chinese watchdogs asked Volkswagen, General Motors Co and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz to recall vehicles with Takata air bags earlier this year. A Reuters report says that there are over 20 million cars in China are equipped with air bags made by Takata. The air bags inflators cannot be trusted and 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. This defect in the air bag has led to the largest recall ever in the automotive history and Takata has even announced bankruptcy. In a statement to Reuters, Volkswagen said 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” added the company’s statement. The carmaker said it has 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”.
Chinese general Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said in a statement that 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 carmaker and its Chinese partners would provide free air bag replacements on the recalled cars.
Volkswagen, which also owns the high-end Audi brand, is not the only carmaker hit by recalls in China related to Takata air bags. As of the end of June this year, 24 out of 37 affected automakers 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 percent on 2015, making it the biggest foreign automaker in the country.