DaimlerChrysler AG said Monday the international recall of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars did not affect vehicle owners in China.
The company's China branch told China Daily Monday in a written statement that no glitches had been found in China since its last recall in 1999.
The Germany-based auto giant recalled 150,000 Mercedes-Benz luxury cars throughout Europe and the Middle East on Friday to fix a defect that could cause the driver's side air bag to deploy prematurely.
The recalls affects all C, E, S and SL Class cars with air bags built between June 1995 and April 1996.
The exclusion of China from the recall has led to claims the firm was biased against Chinese customers.
However, the firm's China branch said: "On the rare occasion that we find the slightest deviation from our high standards, we immediately take action to correct the situation, as we did in China already back in 1999.''
The company made a recall in China, the US, Japan and other countries with humid, tropical climates in 1999.
"The recall was conducted in China in 1999 purely as a precautionary measure and no reports of any incidents in China had been received at that time,'' the statement said.
The problem was first discovered in March 1996 in Indonesia and led to a November 1999 recall of cars in the US and Asia, where hot, humid conditions were thought to trigger the air bags.
The auto giant has increased involvement in China's growing auto market, with a spate of joint ventures with Chinese partners including First Automotive Works, a China auto giant based in Northeast China's Jilin Province.
The China Consumers Association said Monday that it had received five complaints of problems related with Benz cars in China.
"Who said that there is no problems with the cars? I have many files piled on my desk that are directed against the cars sold in China,'' said a source with the association.
Consumers in China are becoming more ready to protect their rights in the wake of a spate of high-profiled product faults.
Recently, Japanese auto-maker Mitsubishi, 34 percent shares of which are under the belt of DaimlerChrysler, bowed to demands from Chinese consumers to offer a compensation to owners of Pajero V31 and V33 sports utilities found to have serious safety flaws.
(China Daily 07/17/2001)