It’s one of motoring’s dirty little open-air secrets, isn’t it? Parts made in China.
It’s not a problem for 90% of the cars sold around the world today. Those cars are automotive appliances and their owners don’t particularly care where they’re made or who makes the parts that go in them.
It’s not a problem because a huge proportion of Chinese parts are made according to a design specifications that see them operate reliably and efficiently. My iPhone (yes, I succumbed) works perfectly.
But it can be a problem when they’re in danger of not working, especially if it’s on a prestigious automotive brand; one of those 10% of cars sold that rely on an image that couldn’t be further away from the shadow of fraudulently made Chinese parts.
Aston Martin is recalling most of its sports cars built since late 2007 (around 75% of them) after discovering a Chinese sub-supplier was using counterfeit plastic material in a part supplied to the luxury sports carmaker.
Aston Martin found that Shenzhen Kexiang Mould Tool Co Limited, a Chinese subcontractor that molds the affected accelerator pedal arms, was using counterfeit plastic material supplied by Synthetic Plastic Raw Material Co Ltd of Dongguan, according to documents filed with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The cars are being recalled from model years 2008 through 2014 because the accelerator pedal arm may break, increasing the risk of a crash, according to the NHTSA documents. This recall replaces the recall announced last May and expanded in October.
A spokeswoman for Aston Martin said there had been no reports of accidents or injuries related to the issue and the financial impact to the automaker was small.
There’s probably not a car company in the world that is 100% free from Chinese parts. And as I said at the beginning, it’s not a problem except for the psychology.
We all know, intellectually, that our cars have something that’s Made In China in it. But being automotive enthusiasts who have selected our cars for a reason, we prefer to think of them as American, or British, or French, German or Swedish cars only. It’s important that the car reflect the reason(s) we bought it.
I posed quite vocally back in the day that Saab’s Scandinavian identity was a big part of its brand promise. They certainly couldn’t hang their hat on a generic four-pot turbo from the US, regardless of how good it was. You’ve got to have some mystique to build an alluring brand.
There aren’t many automotive brands more alluring than Aston Martin. But tell me this…..
How would you feel going to down to your local pub for a pint tonight, slapping the keys to your DB9 on the table and saying “Damn. I’ve got to take the Aston in to have my counterfeit Chinese parts replaced.”
It’s not a good look.