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Local Chinese Carmakers Hit Lowest Recall Record in 2016; Could Signal Underreporting

By | Apr 19, 2017 05:16 AM EDT
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Workers assemble electric automobiles at a workshop in Qingzhou City on March 1, 2016 in Weifang, Shandong Province of China. (Photo : Getty Images)

Local Chinese carmakers reported the lowest record of total recalls in 2016, accounting for only 1 percent. The figure, which represents only a minute fraction of its 41 percent share on the overall car sale in the country, could signal a potential underreporting of quality and safety issues.

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"It's definitely not normal for the domestic manufacturers to have 1 percent of the recalls - they've made rapid progress in recent years, but almost certainly remain behind the international manufacturers on quality," Robin Zhu, Bernstein's auto analyst, said.

Market research group JD Power also said on its published data on the global auto industry that although the quality of Chinese brands has increased in the past two decades, it still could not surpass western brands. JD Power discovered 112 problems per 100 Chinese-brand vehicles compared with 98 from foreign brands, based on its 2016 Initial Quality Survey.

According to the Financial Times, industry experts said that the small proportion was less likely because of the vehicles' higher quality but could potentially be more on inside connections in keeping away pressure from both consumers and public quality inspectors.

Zhu also pointed reluctance to initiate a call back or do so publicly through China's General Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), which inspects for quality standards. He further said that AQSIQ's "uneven enforcement" on the quality recall system could answer the discrepancy between the share of sales and recalls on domestic brands.

AQSIQ, on the other hand, refused to make comment or provide detail on how complaints and recall decisions are handled.

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