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.


EU’s Barnier urges UK to accept EU court deal for Brexit

Updated 26 May 2018
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EU’s Barnier urges UK to accept EU court deal for Brexit

  • Brexit negotiator says Britain playing "hide and seek" by delaying details on trade relationship.
  • UK ministers decry remarks as not "helpful."

BRUSSELS: EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned Britain on Saturday that failing to agree a deal on the governance of a withdrawal treaty which preserves the primacy of the EU court would mean no treaty and no transition period.

Barnier also described British delays in spelling out what kind of trade relationship London wants as “a game of hide and seek” in remarks prepared for delivery to a gathering in Portugal of jurists specialized in EU law.

He chided British criticism of EU positions as a “blame game,” urging London to recognize that it could not retain many elements of EU membership after Brexit.

The sharp tone of the former French minister’s remarks follow several days of talks in Brussels between his team of EU negotiators and British counterparts, after which a senior EU official dismissed as “fantasy” both London’s overall proposals for future close relations and an offer to avoid a disruptive “hard border” between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.

British ministers said those remarks were not “helpful.”

Barnier said he was ready to have “political level” talks to try to advance in three key areas where uncertainty remains, 10 months before Britain is due to leave in March 2019 — how to rule on future disputes over the withdrawal treaty, a “backstop” solution for the Irish border and a framework for future ties.

Referring to discussions within Prime Minister Theresa May’s government on whether to drop an insistence on having no customs union, he said: “If the United Kingdom would like to change its own red lines, it must tell us. The sooner the better.”
“We are asking for clarity,” he added. “A negotiation cannot be a game of hide and seek.”

On the issue of the governance of a withdrawal treaty, which both sides hope to have ready around October, Barnier repeated the EU’s insistence that primacy of the European Court of Justice inside the Union be maintained in regulating any dispute that could not be resolved by a joint committee appointed by the political leadership of the two sides.

“We cannot accept that a jurisdiction other that the Court of Justice of the European Union determines the law and imposes its interpretation on the institutions of the Union,” he said.

The role of British judges would be respected, he added.

But without an agreement on this, the whole deal would collapse: “Without an agreement on governance, there will be no withdrawal agreement and so no transition period.”

Many businesses are counting on an interim accord to maintain a broad status quo between Britain and the EU after Brexit until the end of 2020.

Barnier, who has been hoping to making substantial progress on key issues before May meets fellow EU leaders at a Brussels summit in a month, also criticized what he called a “blame game” in which British officials were accusing the EU of failing to show flexibility to allow continued close cooperation in areas such as security, the economy and research.

This, Barnier said, was to ignore the close legal framework within the EU which was the basis for trust and cooperation among its nation-state members. “We cannot share this decision-making autonomy with a third country,” he said.

“The United Kingdom must face up to the reality of the Union ... It is one thing to be inside the Union and another to be on the outside.”