Lenovo Group Ltd has announced an urgent recall of 205,000 batteries worldwide - 4,000 of them in China.
Dangers of overheating and fire led to the move, the second global recall of batteries in the past six months, Lenovo China said yesterday.
The lithium-ion extended-life cells, made by Japan's Sanyo Electric Co, can become fire hazards if the battery pack is struck forcefully on the corner, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, which liaised with Lenovo on the recall.
Four reports of overheating led to the latest recall.
About 100,000 batteries, with Thinkpad computers, were sold in the US and another 105,000 globally, according to the world's third biggest personal computer maker.
The faulty models include the R60 and R60e series; the T60 and T60p series; and the Z60m, Z61e, Z61m and Z61p series. But only batteries with the part number FRU P/N 92P1131 are being recalled.
Lenovo will offer customers free replacements for all recalled packs, and the company will use Sanyo and Panasonic's new batteries, according to Lenovo China.
"Sanyo will financially share the cost of the recall," said Lenovo China.
Lenovo advised buyers of the faulty batteries to stop using them immediately.
People can visit www.lenovo.com/batteryprogram or call its hotline of 800-810-3315 for more details of the recall.
Since last September, a global-scale recall of Sony-made batteries has occurred in the PC industry. Almost all major players, including Dell Inc, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Apple, recalled a combined 10 million batteries. Lenovo has strived to keep IBM clients in the US after it acquired the Big Blue's personal computer unit in 2005.
The latest case will no doubt impact upon Lenovo's already declining American sales, and add costs to its operations, industry insiders said.
Merrill Lynch said in a February report that cost-cutting should be Lenovo's priority.
The investment bank said Lenovo faces "a tough quarter" to reverse the US sales trend.
To cut costs, Lenovo said previously it will cut 1,000 jobs worldwide, or five percent of its total staff numbers.
(Shanghai Daily March 3, 2007)