Tesla recalls 14,000 Model S cars in China
China’s market regulator said on Friday that electric carmaker Tesla will recall over 14,000 Model S vehicles sold on the mainland to replace faulty airbags made by the now-defunct Japanese company Takata, Trend reports referring to South China Morning Post.
The recall, which involves cars made between February 2014 and December 2016, will begin on April 10, the State Administration for Market Regulation said in a statement on its website on Friday.
The cars were imported from the United States.
Tesla’s recall is part of a crackdown on Takata-made airbags that have been blamed for a number of deaths. The Takata airbags use a nitrate propellant that is at risk of breakage and can cause serious injuries resulting from ejection of debris.
About 37 million vehicles worldwide, including those built by Toyota and Ford, have been affected by the Takata-made airbags.
“As with the tens of millions of other vehicles with Takata airbag inflators, this industry-wide recall is taking place in phases according to the schedule previously determined by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” Tesla said in a statement. “According to this schedule, the recall of 2012 Model S vehicles began in 2017, was extended to 2013 Model S vehicles in 2018, and is now being extended to 2014-2016 Model S vehicles.”
Tesla started building its Gigafactory 3 at Lingang, Shanghai earlier this month to locally make affordable cars for customers in the world’s largest car and electric vehicle market.
Chief executive Elon Musk said his company would start production of its Model 3 on the mainland by the end of 2019.
The Gigafactory 3 is Tesla’s first overseas plant outside the US and comes amid the ongoing US-China trade war. It is also the mainland’s first electric vehicle factory wholly owned by a foreign investor as Beijing pledges to further open up its car manufacturing industry to display its resolve in promoting globalisation.
Construction of the plant began just three months after Tesla secured a land parcel at Shanghai’s free zone.
The plant is expected to produce about 3,000 Model 3 vehicles a week in the initial phase, and will ramp up output to 500,000 per year when it becomes fully operational, Tesla said in a statement.
Tesla cars imported from the US are now subject to a 15 per cent tariff on the mainland.
A Model 3 car now sells for 499,000 yuan (US$73,650) in China.
It is expected that a locally produced Tesla car, with reductions in manufacturing and logistics costs on top of the exempted import tariffs, would cost as little as 300,000 yuan – a price level that could prove attractive to thousands of mainland buyers.