China announces 2nd Volkswagen recall this year; 640,000 cars and minivans affected

BEIJING, China – China’s government on Thursday announced the second recall of Volkswagen vehicles this year, a setback for the German automaker following a March report by state TV that criticized its quality standards.

Volkswagen AG will recall 640,309 cars and minivans to replace oil in their transmissions that might cause an electrical problem, the Chinese government product quality agency said.

VW will replace the synthetic oil with mineral oil at no charge to owners, the Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said.

Vehicles affected include Volkswagen Scirocco 1.4Ts, Golf wagons, Golf sport convertibles and Beetle 1.4Ts and 1.2Ts and Audi A1s and A3s imported between Jan. 28, 2009 and July 4, 2013.

Also covered are Boras, Golfs, Sagitars and Magotan sedans and Touran minivans manufactured in China by Volkswagen’s joint venture with state-owned First Auto Works.

In March, VW recalled 384,000 vehicles in China to fix gearboxes following criticism by state television.

Foreign makers of autos, processed food and other products often are regarded in China as more reliable than local brands but any quality problems are widely publicized by state media.

Chinese consumers are on edge following a series of safety scandals over fake or tainted food, milk powder, medicines and other goods.

China is Volkswagen’s biggest market and strong sales have helped to buoy the German company’s finances against weaker performance elsewhere.

Volkswagen sold 2.8 million vehicles in China last year for a 14 per cent share of the market, according to LMC Automotive, a research firm.