|British automaker Aston Martin's defects exposed after dodgy complaints on China made parts
British automaker Aston Martin's latest recall again passes the buck for poor quality of products, but this time “Made in China" has become a scapegoat.
Aston Martin announced on February 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 has no basis to pin the blame on Chinese manufacturers, Xinhua reports.
The newspaper disclosed on Wednesday that Aston Martin had not adhered to its own supposed “strict standards" in selection and monitoring of its supply chain.
The accused supplier, Shenzhen Kexiang Mould Tool Co, 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 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 to 2007. His company was established in August 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He added that his company, with outdated equipment and limited workshop space, only made a few models for FFT around July last year, and had had no further contact.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 UK 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.
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 responsible for 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 is no excuse for 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 US$140, but only cost about US$32.73 to produce in China.