General Motors, the biggest foreign automaker in China by sales, announced a recall of about 1.46 million cars in China on Friday, one of the largest such actions to be taken in the world's No 1 automobile market.
According to GM's official statement, Shanghai General Motors Co, its passenger vehicle joint venture with China's SAIC Motor Corp, started to recall 1,218,163 Buick Excelle cars and 243,297 Chevrolet Sail compact cars, on Monday.
The Buicks to be recalled are the Excelles produced between Jan 17, 2006, and Dec 2, 2011. The recalled Chevy Sails were manufactured between April 9, 2009, and Oct 8, 2011.
The recall addresses a component that holds the cars' fuel pump, said the statement. The holder could crack after long use and result in a fuel leak under extreme circumstances, it said.
Shanghai-GM hasn't received any reports of such problems actually occurring, General Motors said in an e-mail to China Daily on Monday. Buick and Chevrolet after-sales service centers will contact owners of the car and conduct vehicle checks and repairs, it said.
Also on Friday, another US automaker, Ford Motor Co, filed a statement with the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine that it will recall in mid-February 80,857 Ford Kuga SUVs produced between Sept 21, 2012, and Nov 13 of this year due to substandard wheel knuckles. The recall starts on Feb 21.
Ford's Chinese joint venture, Chang'an Ford Automobile Co, will help customers replace the front left and right steering knuckles to clear up any possible safety risks, the statement said.
In November, GM's major rival, Volkswagen Group China, announced along with Volkswagen Group Import Co Ltd and joint ventures Shanghai Volkswagen and FAW-Volkswagen a recall of 640,309 vehicles to switch out synthetic oil with conventional oil in cars with seven-speed double-clutch gearboxes.
The synthetic oil may lead to electrical malfunctions in the gearbox power supply and cause safety problems, according to a statement on the website of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.
Volkswagen said in its recall statement that "extensive research has confirmed that replacing synthetic oil with mineral oil will eliminate the possibility that this issue could occur. Therefore, Volkswagen has decided to replace synthetic oil with mineral oil in affected vehicles as a preventative countermeasure at zero cost to the customers in China and other affected markets".
The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said that as of Dec 26, the authority has helped carmakers announce 130 batches of vehicle recalls involving 3.76 million vehicles in China, 17.37 percent more than last year.
Chen Xitong, spokesman for the country's quality watchdog, said that of the total amount, 52.17 percent of the recalled vehicles, or the equivalent of 1.96 million vehicles, were recalled after investigations by the administration and that 3.28 million vehicles were voluntarily recalled by domestic automakers.
The administration issued a new rule, effective as of Oct 1, that gives responsibility to the seller for repairs, replacements and refunds pertaining to private cars manufactured and sold in China.
"The big increase in recall batches and numbers this year can be attributed to the implementation of the new policy, which effectively regulates the recall sector," said Cui Dongshu, deputy secretary-general of the China Passenger Car Association.
Jia Xinguang, an independent auto analyst based in Beijing, added: "The number of recalled vehicles has no direct relationship with the quality. The increased numbers of recalls indicate that more manufacturers are shouldering their liability to customers. Chinese customers should treat recalls rationally."