How Much Value Did Your Aston Martin Lose Today?

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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.

Ouch.

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.

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7 Comments

  1. You are indeed on the ball, sir. I was about to send the link to you with exactly the same comment: “ouch”.

    Yet another example of the cost of cheap Chinese goods. Those examples are everywhere, but you cringe a lot more when they appear in your $100k Aston Martin.

  2. You could flip it over and say is it then acceptable for the owner of a Toyota/Volkswagen etc. to have cheap, potentially dangerous parts fitted? An Aston owner is no more deserving of reliability or safety than anyone else. I appreciate that is not the sentiment in the piece but I think an Aston recall for safety is no or more less news worthy than a Toyota recall. The news worthy piece is the non spec parts.

    In my dealer experience the owners of most cars are pretty unforgiving of faulty parts and in the cases of owners of cheaper products from luxury dealers VERY sensitive to receiving ‘second class’ service.

    As to where the parts come from, for enthusiasts it’s maybe an issue. However I am known at work as the go to guy for telling people which end of the car is powered…

  3. Guess I have to give Aston Martin credit for being so open and transparent about the issue. Couldn’t they have just said the cars were being recalled because of potentially defective pedals?

  4. I agree that its good to see AM own up to this issue and sort it properly and simply. As much as I like my Swedish car to be Swedish, I can accept that plenty of the parts come from elsewhere. Thus, I don’t have a problem with Chinese parts, they make practically everything…..but counterfeit parts? No surprise that they’re Chinese, where respect for intellectual property is vastly different to where I live.

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