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Volkswagen recalls cars with defective gearboxes

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CNTV, April 3, 2013
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German carmaker Volkswagen has started recalling some 384,000 vehicles sold in China due to gearbox problems. The decision was made after China's quality supervision authority found gearbox problems in certain Volkswagen models.

Since the first reported gearbox malfunction 4 years ago, the auto giant has been facing widespread criticism for both its product quality and its attitude towards the public.

Two clutches for faster gear changes, but, the gearbox poses some serious safety concerns.

Chen Jian will take his Volkswagen car back to the dealer shop. It's equipped with a Direct Shift Gearbox, commonly abbreviated to DSG, which has been causing sudden losses and gains in engine power.

Chen Jian, VW Car Owner, said, "There have been many times when the car suddenly lost power and stopped while I was driving. Sudden acceleration happens from time to time, and there are some abnormal vibrations in my car too."

Chen is not the only one whose car was equipped with a defective gearbox. Starting from April 2nd, Volkswagen will recall around 384,000 cars sold in China due to the gearbox problems.

The DSG transmission is supposed to help achieve faster shift times, but Volkswagen has had to recall their vehicles because of fears that instead of making it easier to shift gears, it may not let you shift at all.

The direct-shift gearbox has two separate clutches, contained within one box, and working as one unit.

According to Volkswagen's official explanation, the problem is caused by sulfur in the gearbox's transmission fluid that could damage its metal parts, leading to power interruption. But some believe another major reason is that the technology is not "acclimatized" in China.

Dong Yang, Vice Chairman, China Assoc. of Automobile Manufacturers, said, "I wouldn't say the DSG technology is a failure. It is not fully adjusted to the traffic situation in China which is quite different from that in the U.S. and Europe."

Analysts believe the recall is a public relations blow for Volkswagen in the world's largest auto market.

Dong Yang, Vice Chairman, China Assoc. of Automobile Manufacturers, said, "Volkswagen used to have a good reputation in China in both service and the quality of its vehicles. The recall is a reminder that no matter how successful you are, you need to take serious consideration of customer complaints and requests from the government. "

Last year, VW extended its DSG quality guarantee period in China to 10 years but refused to launch a recall out of concerns over repair costs.

Dong says the mistake VW made was trying to avoid apologizing to the public by carrying out the measure.

In response to concerns over the recall issue, VW China has insisted that the solution they've prepared will fix the gearbox's problems, but they will not abandon the DSG technology. For the carmaker, all that really matters is customer satisfaction when it comes to service and the quality of the vehicles once they are repaired.

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