Despite China being a major manufacturing hub and the second largest economy, the desultory Made-in-China tag continues to hound the Asian giant. Ateco Automotive, the Australian importer of made-in-China vehicles, could recall 25,000 Great Wall and Chery brand vehicles over its asbestos fibre contents in the car's engine and exhaust gasket.
Chinese products have in the past been questioned over safety levels due to toxic contents of some of its milk and toy exports.
Ateco is working with WorkCover and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to determine the necessary course of action. The firm is expected to make an announcement whether it would recall the 25,000 made-in-China vehicles broken down into 21,500 units of Great Wall and 2,250 units of Chery.
Ateco confirmed that safety consultants Hibbs & Associated found asbestos in the car components and promised to comply with measures to be required by regulators due to the chances that these parts would not need replacement during the lifetime of the vehicle.
ACCC said there is no recall order yet but said it will release a recommendation of the necessary course of action in the coming days. Great Wall was sold in Australian in 2009 and Chery in 2010. Australia has prohibited asbestos use in 2003.
"It is the case that some of our gaskets have been found to contain a small amount of asbestos, however we have professional advice from an occupational health and safety consultant that there is a negligible risk to drivers or passengers of the vehicle and a very low risk for mechanics working on the cars," Ateco was quoted by The Australian.
American and Japanese carmakers had recalled in the past thousands of vehicles over defects which affect mostly the safety features of the vehicle, not over fatal contents of the automobiles.
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