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Govt strengthens recall system

By Geng Wenxin (Global Times)

08:06, June 11, 2012

Carmarkers will have to take more responsibility for product quality, and domestic recall cases are expected to increase significantly this year, experts told the Global Times yesterday, as the government prepares to adopt stricter rules on auto recall system.

"A new draft on car recall system has been completed and is being revised now. Hopefully it will be launched before the end of the year," said Jiang Lihua, an analyst with Shanghai-based Tian Run Consulting.

The draft version extends the recall system to imported cars. It stipulates that carmakers hiding quality problems or refusing to recall when needed will face penalties of up to 50 percent of the product price.

The current auto recall regulation in China was issued in 2004, which does not cover imported cars nor strictly define the recall responsibilities of carmakers. The penalty for negligence of recall duties is only 30,000 yuan ($4,708).

Under the revised regulations, carmakers will face more severe punishment if they still adopt the same recall policies as before. This will increase the frequency of recalls in China, Jiang noted.

"Many of the recalls this year were a result of stricter supervision by the quality authority, including monitoring recall processes, discussions with carmarkers of faulty vehicles and warning consumers of the risks, which shows that the authority is making more efforts on car quality inspection and protecting consumers' rights," Jiang said.

"The growing incidence of recalls does not mean car quality is worse than before, instead, it shows people care more about quality. Stricter supervision and regulation on car recall is just one reason behind more recall cases," said Chen Siling, lawyer of Beijing-based law firm Hua Ling & Partners.

Li Wei, a Beijing resident who owns a Roewe 950, echoed Chen's opinion. "Recall shows the automaker has the right attitude toward the quality of the product. A recall won't hurt the brand image."

Statistics from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine released on May 15 show that it received 8,840 complaints about car quality in 2011, up 20.8 percent year-on-year, involving 596 models of 148 carmakers.

A total of 30 recalls have been made so far this year. Most recently, Beijing Hyundai Motor Co announced Friday that it would recall 97,452 of its Elantra cars due to faulty air bags. Other brands like Nissan, Citron, Farrari and BMW were also involved in recall incidents so far this year.

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