Checking the details: Consumers and industry analysts note regulations on China's auto standards lack the specifics found in developed markets, while carmakers face a fine of only 30,000 yuan for covering up a defect. [Photo/China Daily]
Only two of the 66 recalls this year initiated by local carmakers
BEIJING - Only two out of this year's 66 passenger vehicle recalls in China were made by domestic brands, according to records on the country's auto recall website, again raising concerns over weak safety regulations.
Great Wall Motors began recalling 4,685 Florids and C30s in April due to faulty Kumho-brand tires, which a television report first revealed were made with excess recycled rubber at its plant in Tianjin.
The second was by the passenger vehicle subsidiary of SAIC Group, which filed a recall request with the General Administration of Quality Supervision for its TF Roadster by MG - now a wholly owned Chinese brand - for corrosion problems in the steering assembly.
To date, no other local brands have issued recalls this year.
Joint venture and imports
The remaining 64 recalls were all on models made by joint ventures or for imported vehicles, with imported models in turn outnumbering those made locally by joint ventures.
Of the 10 most recent cases, eight were for imported vehicles from carmakers including Toyota, BMW and Nissan, numbers likely related to the sales growth of imported vehicles, according to industry analysts.
In the first 10 months this year, China imported 797,000 vehicles, a 29 percent rise over the same month last year.
None of the recalls on imports were initiated in China - all were part of multinational recalls of affected models.
Industry insiders note that developed countries have strict and specific standards for virtually every auto part and component, but China's regulations lack that level of detail.
As well, as media observers say few domestic automakers have called back vehicles with potential defects - recalls are usually initiated only when problems actually occur.
Light punishment is another reason for the lack of domestic recalls. Carmakers face a maximum fine of just 30,000 yuan for concealing defects.
Penalties stiff in West
Automakers can be fined from 15 million yuan to more than 100 million yuan in Western countries. Violators can face penalties of up to 15 years in prison.
In the much-publicized Toyota recall last year, the automaker was fined 100 billion yen (about $1.1 billion) by US regulators.
According to statistics released in 2009, there were more than 76 million vehicles on the road in China, a year when 1.35 million vehicles - less than 2 percent - were recalled. In the US, the proportion was about 10 percent in the same year.
In 2009, of 56 auto recalls in China, two came from domestic automakers.
In 2010, only one local brand - Chery - initiated an auto recall among the 95 recalls that year.