The Beijing branch of Japan's Honda Group said yesterday the company is preparing to repair or replace suspect ignition switches in certain Honda models that are marketed in China.
Honda -- Japan's second-biggest car maker -- said last week that it would recall certain Honda and Acura models to replace faulty ignition switches that may cause the cars' engines to stall.
The Beijing branch of the company said about 25,000 cars including Acura, CRV and Odyssey models, which were imported into China during the 1997-99 period, are affected.
"We are bringing parts into China and Chinese users can apply for a free check of their ignition switch at the auto maker's maintenance centers across the nation," Liu Dequan, a branch staff member, told China Daily.
The branch's high-level officials have not been available for comment on the problem.
"We have not been informed of any such fault in China so far, but if Honda owners are concerned they can apply for a check free of charge," Liu said.
Of the 2.57 million vehicles affected, 743,417 are in Japan, while around 1.34 million are in the United States.
Honda said the US recall covered certain 1997 to 2000 models of the Accord, Civic, Prelude, CRV and Odyssey, along with some 1999 Acura TL sedans and 1997-99 CL coupes.
"We are not considering recalling these models in China," Liu said.
The auto maker said electrical contacts within the switch can wear prematurely, making the vehicles harder to start and possibly causing them to stall.
It said less than 0.3 percent of the affected vehicles in the United States had experienced the problem, and no accidents or injuries had been reported.
The recall is one of the largest ever for Honda.
In a separate development, the China Consumers Association yesterday announced that it is firmly on the side of Chinese consumers, and urged Chinese users of the Mercedes-Benz MB100 minibus to stop driving the vehicle because of a serious manufacturing flaw.
"We are willing to offer legal aid to Chinese owners if they want to go after the maker," the association said in a circular.
Last week, China's quality supervision authorities asked owners to take their vehicles to maintenance centers as soon as possible.
"Mercedes-Benz should recall these vehicles in line with internationally accepted practice," the association said in its announcement.
An MB100 which crashed killing one person and injuring two others in northwest China's Gansu Province on February 29 was found to have a faulty braking system.
After a careful check of the van belonging to a branch company of the China National Petroleum Corporation, the administration found that the space between the exhaust pipe and axle was less than required, which caused the exhaust pipe to crush the brake fluid line, blocking the flow of brake fluid to the brakes.
It has been discovered that the problem is common among vans of this model.
Unofficial statistics show that 2,076 MB100s have been taken in for repair around the country since 2000. Some 11.37 percent of the vehicles checked have reported the same defect.
(China Daily May 28, 2002)