China's product safety reputation took another hit today, as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced a recall of 23,000 Chinese vehicles made by Great Wall and Chery. The vehicles have engine and exhaust gaskets that contain asbestos, a known carcinogen that is prohibited in Australia. Both manufacturers have been directed to stop selling the affected vehicles, and owners have been warned not to perform any do-it-yourself repairs that involve the problem gaskets.

The recall raises questions about Chinese automakers plans to increase exports, not only to Australia but Europe and potentially even the United States. Yet a spokesman for Great Wall told Bloomberg that the recall "won't have much impact on our export and overseas expansion plans."

How the asbestos-containing parts came to be used in the Australian cars is unclear, but a Chery spokesman told the news agency that the automaker made a mistake, building the cars with a batch of parts that were not intended for use in export cars. But an Australian public affairs official indicated that the recall affects a majority of the vehicles the two Chinese automakers have imported.

Great Wall began exporting vehicles to Australia in 2009 and Chery followed in 2011, according to the report. Combined, they sold just over 17,000 vehicles in Australia between 2010-2011. Models affected by the recall include the Great Wall SA220, V240, X240, V200 and X200 (pictured), as well as the Chery J11 and J3.

Scroll down to read the full statement from the ACCC.
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ACCC issues alert about asbestos in car gaskets

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is monitoring a recall of approximately 23,000 Great Wall and Chery motor vehicles with engine and exhaust gaskets containing asbestos. The Chery J1 model and newly imported stock of both brands are unaffected by the recall.

The asbestos is bound into gaskets in the engine and exhaust system and does not present any risk to consumers during use of the vehicle. However, consumers should not perform do-it-yourself maintenance that might disturb these gaskets.

ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said, "Asbestos is a prohibited hazardous substance and these engines and exhaust systems should only be worked on by qualified personnel using appropriate safety procedures."

Ateco has:

Instructed all Chery and Great Wall dealers to 'stop sale' of affected vehicles
Recalled gaskets that were distributed as spare parts
Ensured all newly supplied cars and replacement gaskets are asbestos-free
Arranged to directly advise car owners that gaskets should be replaced by authorised mechanics when replacement is required
Arranged for warning stickers to be placed in the engine bay of affected cars
Ensured that warnings and instructions for the safe handling and disposal of gaskets are provided with all spare parts that include an affected gasket
Prepared a safety training video and other materials for automotive repairers.

"The automotive service industry is experienced in managing this risk, as cars sold in Australia before 2004 often had gaskets that contained asbestos," Ms Rickard said. "However, consumers and automotive repairers must be made aware that the risk may be present in these much newer vehicles. This is the focus of the recall campaign."

"All affected consumers will be contacted directly by Great Wall and Chery. In addition, they will provide training, warning stickers and safety advice to repairers. The ACCC will monitor the recall and Workplace Health and Safety Authorities will monitor the workplace safety issues," Ms Rickard said.

Customs and Border Protection officers detected asbestos in imported spare parts, triggering a safety investigation also involving the WorkCover Authority of NSW, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, the ACCC and the supplier of the cars, Ateco Automotive Pty Ltd.

If car owners have concerns about the presence of affected gaskets in their Great Wall cars they should contact customer service on 1-800-114672 and 1-800-359456 for advice about Chery vehicles, to arrange for replacement of the affected gaskets.

The importation or use of asbestos has been prohibited in Australia since 2004. Consumers with other older vehicles are therefore also advised to take precautions when performing do-it-yourself maintenance that might disturb gaskets. A work safety guidance note is available from www.worksafe.vic.gov.au.

Consumers can find more details about this and other recalls at www.recalls.gov.au.

More information on product safety and the mandatory safety standards can be found at www.productsafety.gov.au. You can also follow product safety at the ACCC on Twitter: @ProductSafetyAU.
Show full PR text
ACCC issues alert about asbestos in car gaskets

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is monitoring a recall of approximately 23,000 Great Wall and Chery motor vehicles with engine and exhaust gaskets containing asbestos. The Chery J1 model and newly imported stock of both brands are unaffected by the recall.

The asbestos is bound into gaskets in the engine and exhaust system and does not present any risk to consumers during use of the vehicle. However, consumers should not perform do-it-yourself maintenance that might disturb these gaskets.

ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said, "Asbestos is a prohibited hazardous substance and these engines and exhaust systems should only be worked on by qualified personnel using appropriate safety procedures."

Ateco has:

Instructed all Chery and Great Wall dealers to 'stop sale' of affected vehicles
Recalled gaskets that were distributed as spare parts
Ensured all newly supplied cars and replacement gaskets are asbestos-free
Arranged to directly advise car owners that gaskets should be replaced by authorised mechanics when replacement is required
Arranged for warning stickers to be placed in the engine bay of affected cars
Ensured that warnings and instructions for the safe handling and disposal of gaskets are provided with all spare parts that include an affected gasket
Prepared a safety training video and other materials for automotive repairers.

"The automotive service industry is experienced in managing this risk, as cars sold in Australia before 2004 often had gaskets that contained asbestos," Ms Rickard said. "However, consumers and automotive repairers must be made aware that the risk may be present in these much newer vehicles. This is the focus of the recall campaign."

"All affected consumers will be contacted directly by Great Wall and Chery. In addition, they will provide training, warning stickers and safety advice to repairers. The ACCC will monitor the recall and Workplace Health and Safety Authorities will monitor the workplace safety issues," Ms Rickard said.

Customs and Border Protection officers detected asbestos in imported spare parts, triggering a safety investigation also involving the WorkCover Authority of NSW, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, the ACCC and the supplier of the cars, Ateco Automotive Pty Ltd.

If car owners have concerns about the presence of affected gaskets in their Great Wall cars they should contact customer service on 1-800-114672 and 1-800-359456 for advice about Chery vehicles, to arrange for replacement of the affected gaskets.

The importation or use of asbestos has been prohibited in Australia since 2004. Consumers with other older vehicles are therefore also advised to take precautions when performing do-it-yourself maintenance that might disturb gaskets. A work safety guidance note is available from www.worksafe.vic.gov.au.

Consumers can find more details about this and other recalls at www.recalls.gov.au.

More information on product safety and the mandatory safety standards can be found at www.productsafety.gov.au. You can also follow product safety at the ACCC on Twitter: @ProductSafetyAU.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 83 Comments
      dukeisduke
      • 2 Years Ago
      What else is hiding in there? PCBs in the electrical components? Dioxin in the lubricants? Had these things been imported into the US, imagine the field day the late night TV asbestos/mesothelioma lawyers would have with this.
      superchan7
      • 2 Years Ago
      The level and quality of market research done by these Chinese small-timers is hilarious. If you want to export to economically developed markets, you need to create a first-rate product. In fact, as Hyundai shows, you even need to create a leading product just to bring your brand into the market
      M5_4_life
      • 2 Years Ago
      "...but a Chery spokesman told the news agency that the automaker made a mistake, building the cars with a batch of parts that were not intended for use in export cars." Wow, I feel sorry for the Chinese.
      untitledfolder
      • 2 Years Ago
      Copycat culture. Except copy it and make a shitty version.
      Gorgenapper
      • 2 Years Ago
      Don't these fools realize that this not only shows their disregard for human life, and hurts their rep as a company, it also contributes to the stereotype that most Chinese products are dangerous junk made as cheaply as possible? Changing that stereotype can only happen when Chinese companies stop preying on the overly price conscious consumer. 10 widgets that do 10% of the job is not equal to 1 widget that does 100% of the job.
      Drakkon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow! Asbestos in cars, toxic drywall, poisonous dog food. I see how China is dealing with unwanted waste.
      WillieD
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm getting so sick of the antics of companies that originate in China. Zero concern for humans and their only goal is to make money using the cheapest methods possible. I wish it would stop, but it's only going to get worse.
        j0nny5
        • 2 Years Ago
        @WillieD
        Hate to say it, but, that's exactly why a completely "free market" would probably kill us. We are shocked at what "flies" in other countries, yet, we want to allow things to grow unfettered and with zero regulation. Well, China is what happens when you do that. Millions working for barely any pay, breathing in toxic fumes constantly, committing suicide because they're backed against a wall. Unions have a *huge* potential for corruption (I know, I've been a member). But they exist because nothing else is out there to make sure that workers don't get $hit on, other than a handful of federal laws. 'BAN UNIONS!" is not the answer. "UNIONIZE EVERYONE!" is not the answer either. Just create a set of fair rules that everyone has to abide by, and encourage a global standard. Sorry for the rant, it just makes me crazy when I see a ton of people pointing out how bad things are in China, then turning around and parroting corporate shills that would love nothing more than for all of us to subject to the rules that would benefit THEM the most (not specifically aimed at you, WilleD.) Thanks.
      SloopJohnB
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yes, but those vehicles with the asbestos gaskets don't have the gasket failures that the 'export' vehicles with non-asbestos gaskets will have. LOL.
      MyerShift
      • 2 Years Ago
      Always another reason to avoid a Chinese vehicle! You her what you pay for.
      Andre Neves
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nothing good has ever come out of a product made in China when it comes to quality control.
      vdub
      • 2 Years Ago
      Isuzu Axiom body, Mazda CX7 headlights, Hyundai Veracruz grill, China you can keep your cars and your lack of creativity.
        munkymonkjr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @vdub
        Yup. But don't worry, cars like this won't make it in the US because of that. Hell, I'm not exactly sure why Mazda (and lesser degree Hyundai) haven't taken action on this thing (or I am not following Australian automotive news very closely). Chery won't make it because GM has a special place in hell reserved for that company. Not only are we talking about the famous Chery vs Chevy trademark case, but also Chery's tendency to rip of GM-Daewoo products. A Chinese remake of the complete crap that was Daewoo -- that cannot be a good car.
      R3TRO
      • 2 Years Ago
      How much money could you possibly save by using gaskets with asbestos vs without? Then of all things to say you admit that it's ok to use a known carcinogen in a product sold to your own people yet use the "safe" one for the rest of the world!? Wow... there is little hope for humanity.
        Brodz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @R3TRO
        That's China for you. They have no shame.
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