Volkswagen, partners to recall 4.86 million vehicles in China over Takata airbags

Volkswagen delivered 3.98 million vehicles in China last year. (Reuters)
Updated 14 September 2017
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Volkswagen, partners to recall 4.86 million vehicles in China over Takata airbags

BEIJING/SHANGHAI: Volkswagen and its Chinese joint ventures FAW-Volkswagen and SAIC Volkswagen will recall 4.86 million vehicles in China due to potential issues with Takata Corp. air bags, a blow to the carmaker in the world’s largest auto market.
The recall comes after Chinese watchdogs asked the German automaker as well as General Motors and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz to recall vehicles with Takata air bags earlier this year.
Official Chinese estimates show over 20 million cars in China had air bags made by Takata, which have been linked to at least 16 deaths and 180 injuries globally. The air bags have the potential to explode with too much force and spray shrapnel.
The defect led to the biggest recall in automotive history and eventual bankruptcy of the Japanese maker.
Volkswagen told Reuters in an e-mailed statement on Thursday that after discussions, Chinese authorities had concluded the fault could occur in rare cases when the air bag was deployed, “which may create a potential safety risk”.
“Acting upon advice from the Chinese safety authority, Volkswagen Group China therefore made this recall decision.”
The carmaker said it had not received any reports related to the issue affecting its vehicles globally, and that a parts analysis had found Takata air bag inflators – the suspected cause of the defect – were in “normal condition”.
China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement that VW China would recall 103,573 vehicles, FAW-Volkswagen 2.35 million vehicles and SAIC Volkswagen 2.4 million vehicles.
The watchdog said the recall would run from March next year into 2019.
Volkswagen said the carmaker and its Chinese partners would provide free air bag replacements on the recalled cars.
Volkswagen, which also owns the high-end Audi brand, is not the only carmaker hit by recalls in China related to Takata air bags.
As of the end of June this year, 24 out of 37 affected automakers had recalled 10.59 million vehicles. A further five had made plans to recall 1.26 million vehicles.
Volkswagen delivered 3.98 million vehicles in China last year, an increase of 12.2 percent on 2015, making it the biggest foreign automaker in the country.


Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field

Updated 14 December 2018
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Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field

  • Ransom payment would set dangerous precedent
  • NOC declared force majeure on exports on Monday

BENGHAZI: Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corp. (NOC) said it was against paying a ransom to an armed group that has halted crude production at the country’s largest oilfield.
“Any attempt to pay a ransom to the armed militia which shut down El Sharara (oilfield) would set a dangerous precedent that would threaten the recovery of the Libyan economy,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a statement on the company’s website.
NOC on Monday declared force majeure on exports from the 315,000-barrels-per-day oilfield after it was seized at the weekend by a local militia group.
The nearby El-Feel oilfield, which uses the same power supply as El Sharara, was still producing normally, a spokesman for NOC said, without giving an output figure. The field usually pumps around 70,000 bpd.
Since 2013 Libya has faced a wave of blockages of oilfields and export terminals by armed groups and civilians trying to press the country’s weak state into concessions.
Officials have tended to end such action by paying off protesters who demand to be added to the public payroll.
At El Sharara, in southern Libya, a mix of state-paid guards, civilians and tribesmen have occupied the field, camping there since Saturday, protesters and oil workers said. The protesters work in shifts, with some going home at night.
NOC has evacuated some staff by plane, engineers at the oilfield said. A number of sub-stations away from the main field have been vacated and equipment removed.
The occupiers are divided, with members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) indicating they would end the blockade in return for a quick cash payment, oil workers say. The PFG has demanded more men be added to the public payroll.
The tribesmen have asked for long-term development funds, which might take time.
Libya is run by two competing, weak governments. Armed groups, tribesmen and normal Libyans tend to vent their anger about high inflation and a lack of infrastructure on the NOC, which they see as a cash cow booking billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues annually.