VW slips a gear in China with recall of 384,181 faulty cars
VOLKSWAGEN is to recall 384,181 cars from the lucrative Chinese market because of faulty gearboxes.
The move is embarrassing for the German car maker which sells more vehicles in China than any other firm.
The recall, which begins at the beginning of April, includes some Passat, Sagitar, Golf, Touran and other models made at Volkswagen's China ventures as well as some imported models, including Audi A3 cars built between February 2010 and June 2011.
It comes after a TV programme on state-run China Central Television (CCTV) showed that the direct shift gearbox transmission, a long-standing issue for Volkswagen, was causing cars to speed up or slow down during driving.
"In isolated cases, an electronic malfunction in the control unit or a lack of oil pressure inside the gearbox mechatronics may result in a power interruption," Volkswagen said in a statement.
"The most important vehicle systems, such as steering and braking, along with other relevant systems will not be affected."
Volkswagen sold 2.81 million cars in the country last year. It plans to almost double production capacity to 4 million in the next five years. It has been speculated that the recall could cost the car maker more than €465m.
The company said there had been no accidents reported as a result of the fault.
China's quality regulator said it interviewed more than 3,000 consumers, received more than 10,000 reports of faultiness, conducted 12 spot checks and held seven hearings with motoring experts before concluding that the Volkswagen gearboxes were defective and posed a safety concern.