China’s quality regulator stopped imports of 160 Renault 2007-year model vehicles at the beginning of June; the reason given at the end of last week was premature failure of certain parts during storage.
The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) banned the Laguna, Scenic/Long Scenic, Megane and Megane Coupe-Cabriolet vehicles citing “serious potential safety risks”.
“I understand that the damage, and consequently the safety issues raised by the Chinese authorities, has been due to premature failure of certain parts whilst the vehicles were in long-term storage,” said Renault spokesman Tim Jackson. “The problems are in no way connected with design or manufacturing. The vehicles were built at plants that also supply European markets. None of the cars had been delivered to customers. They were still in the port.”
The AQSIQ was unavailable for comment.
In March 2008, Renault was warned by AQSIQ for not reporting problems concerning its Megane II models to the Chinese government when it recalled the model in Europe for transmission issues. Renault began to recall its Megane II and Clio III vehicles in the European markets in October 2006.
Following the announcement by the AQSIQ, alternative political speculation was made available on the website of the popular UK automotive television show Top Gear. It pondered on the fact that the ban was announced just three days after honorary citizenship of Paris was granted to exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. Last month China warned France not to make more ‘errors' in Tibet. "If the Paris city government does make this award, it will definitely meet once again with the Chinese people's firm opposition," foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told reporters ahead of the Paris visit which took place from 6-8 June.