German carmaker Volkswagen will repair over 4.86 million of its vehicles that have airbags made by Takata Read. The recall by VW will apply to vehicles that were made in China as well as imported.
This is the latest blow for the German automaker following several distribution and quality issues across the largest auto market in the world this year.
The consumer inspection bureau of China announced that VW would be recalling the vehicles with the Takata-made airbags. The recall is for vehicles dating back to 2005 that were built in China as well as imported. The recall will start in March of 2018.
VW sold nearly 4 million vehicles last year in China. The recall is just the latest airbag scandal involving airbag maker Takata that has affected millions of vehicles around the world, from makers like Toyota and Honda.
The scandal has seen 17 people die from injuries and hundreds more injured when Takata’s airbags exploded. The scandal helped to push the airbag maker from Japan into bankruptcy and started recalls across the globe for many different types of vehicles that has added up to a cost for carmakers exceeding $13 billion to data.
Takata paid a criminal penalty of $1 billion in the United States due to this issue, and many automakers have put aside large sums of money to cover the costs for the fixes and recalls assuming they will not be able to recoup any money from the bankrupt company.
VW announced the decision for the recall of its vehicles in China made together with authorities in China after analysis indicted that the airbags could possibly rupture when being deployed, though no cases to date have been reported.
The move by VW is the largest in several recalls that marred the image of one of the most established and oldest foreign brands in China.
In the 1980s at the time China started opening its economy to investments from foreign companies, many non-Chinese automakers were wary of making an investment in operations inside China to serve the market that at the time was nascent.
VW however was one of the exceptions, becoming one of the first foreign auto companies to enter into a joint venture in the country, at first with SAIC Motor the state-owned automaker during 1985.
Currently VW makes and sells its vehicles across China with joint ventures with FAW, a large state-owned automaker and SAIC Motor.