Biz / Auto

2020 saw light dip in number of car recalls

Hu Yumo
China recalled 6.78 million defective cars in 2020 with a peak in December due to Japanese automaker Honda recalling 1.09 million vehicles because of fuel pump failure. 
Hu Yumo

China recalled 6.78 million defective cars in 2020, 0.4 percent fewer than in 2019, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

In December, 1.23 million defective vehicles were recalled, a year-on-year increase of 103 percent. The December recall was the biggest in the last 16 months.

The administration said recalls in 2020 were affected by COVID-19 at the beginning of the year and reached a peak in April, before slowly declining until high figures in November and December.

Zhang Xiaofeng, an independent market analyst, said the slight drop in recalls last year compared with 2019 were due to the impact of the outbreak at the beginning of the year. Zhang said that “the overall work is running smoothly in the following months as the number of single-month recalls exceeded 1 million vehicles in April, November and December.”

The high number in December was mainly due to recalls of Honda cars. GAC Honda and Dongfeng Honda, two of the Japanese automaker's joint ventures in China, recalled 1.09 million vehicles because of fuel pump failure. For the whole year, Honda has recalled more than 1.86 million vehicles in the Chinese market due to fuel pump failures.

A defective part may deform and come in contact with the fuel pump housing, causing the pump to work improperly. This could lead stalling of the engine while the car is moving in the worst cases.

Fuel pump failure was a common issue for automakers in 2020, with 2.7 million cars including Toyota, Lexus and Mazda recalled due to the problem, or 41 percent of the total number of recalls throughout the year.

As sales of new-energy vehicles increased in 2020, so did the number of defective vehicles.

In 2020, 88,100 new-energy vehicles were recalled, a jump of 161 percent compared with 2019. 

The main problems with new-energy vehicles involved the suspension, body structure, electrical equipment, battery, braking and steering.

Tesla, NIO, Li Auto, WM Motor, Polestar and Leapmotor issued eight recalls in 2020 that amounted to a total of 46,449 vehicles. It was a 145 percent increase compared with 2019.

The number of recalls caused by software failure also rose.

China is to enhance supervision of Over-The-Air (OTA) technology in the automobile industry to ensure user safety, the State Administration for Market Regulation announced in November.

In 2020, China had 18 recalls related to software issues, involving 395,500 vehicles, according to data from automotive website Gasgoo.

According to the administration, automobile companies using OTA technology to eliminate defects and implement recalls shall formulate a recall plan, file it with the administration and fulfil its recall responsibilities in accordance with the law. If OTA methods fail to eliminate defects or cause new defects, the company should again take recall measures.

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