According to a report from Reuters, Toyota is recalling over 688,000 cars in China due to a faulty electric switch in the window. The recall involves almost 385,000 Camrys, almost 36,000 Vios, almost 23,000 Yaris, and 245,000 Corollas. According to the company spokesperson, the defect hasn’t been linked with any accidents or injuries.
While the Australian government is reviewing and overhauling their consumer warranty laws, the Courier Mail reported that a Queensland study found that one in three used vehicles sold in or around Brisbane has a major mechanical problem. According to the news story, the report found that “31 percent of Brisbane motorists admitted trading in a vehicle to a car dealer knowing it had mechanical problems, while 13 percent sold a known faulty vehicle privately.”
Across Australia, consumers are clamoring for lemon law protections. It’s doubtful, though, that coverage will include used vehicles. Here in the U.S. relatively few states’ lemon laws cover used vehicles.
Although the Australian government promised to enact protections for consumers with lemon vehicles, it looks as though lemon justice will be delayed. The Age reports that Victoria’s lawmakers “walked away from a 2006 election promise to introduce ‘lemon laws’ to protect people who buy faulty cars.” Instead, the government plans to fold lemon laws in to federal consumer protections slated for consideration in 2011. That’s little solace to consumers with lemons in their driveways.
In a post last April, I took note of a decision by India’s Consumer Commission to award a lemon car owner a refund for his defective vehicle. Recently, President of the Commission, J.D. Kapoor, again ruled in favor of a lemon owner when he ordered that Tata Motors refund the money that Manoj Gadi paid for the defective Tata Indigo he purchased in 2006. It’s great to see that car manufacturers around the world are being held accountable for the quality of their products.
Anyone who was paying attention in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics knows that China’s economy is blossoming. The Chinese automotive market is second only to the United States, and fully 80% of new cars in China are sold to first-time buyers. With that many new cars on the market, one can’t help but wonder about defective vehicles.
According to the Huliq News, China implemented Regulations for the Administration of the Recall of Defective Automobile Products in October 2004. Like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States, the Chinese agency enables consumers to file complaints, conducts investigations, and issues recalls.
Since the regulations went into effect four years ago, China has reportedly recalled 1.5 million vehicles. That’s a good start, but considering that GM recalled parts in over three-quarters of a million vehicles in the U.S. within a one-month period this year (August), and considering the sheer number of new vehicles on Chinese roads, something doesn’t quite add up. So, while China’s version of the NHTSA is a great start, it will probably be awhile before it’s up and running at full speed.