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News Analysis: Aston Martin plays "Made in China" blame game

English.news.cn   2014-02-14 09:36:37

(Source: China Daily)

BEIJING, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Aston Martin's latest recall again passed the buck for poor quality of products, but this time "Made in China" is just the scapegoat of the glorious carmaker.

British luxury carmaker Aston Martin announced on Feb. 5 the recall of 17,590 cars because of a problem with the accelerator pedal molding, a part from a Chinese supplier.

On Thursday, the People's Daily, flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China, called the company "unprofessional", saying Aston Martin having no basis to impute the fault to Chinese manufacturers.

The newspaper disclosed on Wednesday that Aston Martin had not stuck by its own supposed "strict standards" in selection and monitoring of its supply chain.

The accused supplier, Shenzhen Kexiang Mould Tool Co., Ltd., denied any direct contract with Aston Martin, which was confirmed by Aston Martin's British headquarters.

The carmaker said its secondary supplier Fast Forward Tooling (FFT) started working with Shenzhen Kexiang in April 2013 and the business only involved some 700 vehicles.

Zhang Zhiang, manager of the small Chinese firm, questioned why the blame fell on his company as the recalled cars were traced as far back as 2007. His company was established in Aug. 2010 and is incapable of taking big orders from the likes of Aston Martin.

He added that his company, with outdated equipment and limited workshop space, only made a few models for FFT around July last year, and had had no further contact.

Further investigation in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom found that FFT was a small office among warehouses and plants in Leicestershire, 160 kilometers away from London, operated by one man with a defunct email address.

Synthetic Plastic Raw Material Co., Ltd. of Dongguan, also accused by Aston Martin of providing material for Shenzhen Kexiang, is not even a registered business.

Aston Martin's manager in Shanghai confirmed to the paper that the investigation was fair, and that the company was dealing with the issue.

A car marketing expert Zhang Zhiyong points out that Aston Martin is obliged to inform consumers of the real cause of any recall, and the company had failed in this duty.

Zhou Zheng, professor of business and economics at the University of Hong Kong, said that enterprises are fully responsible for their product quality, and quality supervision of subcontracted products.

He said that loopholes in choosing suppliers were dangerous for product quality and customers, and passing the buck to Chinese suppliers was unprofessional.

An engineer at China's First Automobile Works told the paper that it was no surprise that Aston Martin chose small suppliers. High-end manufacturers were likely to be interested, considering Aston Martin's low sales volume, but this could not excuse the company's malpractice.

Zhou believes it was a simple cost-saving measure. In modern industry chains, subcontracts are very common and improve production efficiency while lowering cost.

For example, a pair of steering knuckle arms trade for 140 U.S. dollars, but only cost about 200 yuan (32.73 U.S. dollars) to produce in China.

Expanded supply chains created subcontract management challenges, which impose higher quality risks on enterprises.

"Aston Martin's careless choice has damaged its reputation," Zhou said.

Higher levels of technology and quality are the ultimate solution for the unjust stereotype of "Made in China" as cheap and copycat.

Related:

China quality authority warns Aston Martin owners 

BEIJING, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- China's quality supervision authority issued a warning note on Friday about imported Aston Martin cars which had a problem with the accelerator pedal molding.

The warning note came days after the British luxury carmaker announced the recall of more than 1,000 cars from the Chinese market.

The affected cars were manufactured between Nov. 11 of 2007 and Dec. 31 of 2013. This is the third time that Aston Martin has recalled cars for the same problem, said the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). Full Story

Faulty Chinese part forces major Aston Martin recall 

By Xu Wei BEIJING, Feb. 7 (Xinhuanet) -- Aston Martin is recalling sports car models built since late 2007 after discovering a Chinese parts supplier was using a counterfeit plastic material in a part supplied to the luxury carmaker.

The British luxury carmaker is recalling 17,590 cars, including all of its left-hand-drive models built since November 2007 and all right-hand-drive models built since May 2012, affecting about 75 percent of all vehicles built in that period, a spokeswoman said. The Vanquish model is not affected. Full Story

Aston Martins recalled over pedal defect

BEIJING, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- British luxury car maker Aston Martin's China branch has recalled 1,025 vehicles imported to the Chinese mainland over defects in the accelerator pedal, China's quality watchdog announced on Monday.

The recall includes DB9 Coupe and Volante, DBS Coupe and Volante, Vantage Coupe, Vantage Roadster, Vantage S Coupe, Vantage S Roadster, V12 Vantage Coupe, Virage Coupe, Virage Volante, Rapide, Rapide S and One-77 models manufactured between Nov. 11, 2007 and Oct. 3, 2013, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement. Full Story

 

Editor: Luan
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