Bloomberg News

Volkswagen, Apple Flaws Identified in China State TV Program

March 15, 2013

Owners of Volkswagen AG (VOW)’s cars in China have reported instances of abnormal vibrations, loss of power and sudden acceleration, state-owned China Central Television said in its annual consumer rights program.

The problems are related to the direct-shift gearbox system, the state broadcaster said today in its program marking World Consumer Rights Day.

Volkswagen “will contact the involved customers to fix the issue as quickly as we can,” Christoph Ludewig, a VW spokesman, said in an emailed statement. “Customer satisfaction is always our priority. We will spare no effort to make improvement in the future.”

China is stepping up protection for consumers as carmakers from VW to General Motors Co. (GM:US) seek to expand sales in the world’s largest auto market. The nation’s quality watchdog this year introduced laws allowing the government to order investigations and impose fines should manufacturers and importers fail to recall faulty vehicles in a timely manner.

VW, Europe’s biggest carmaker, said in May that its Chinese division agreed to extend the warranty for an automatic transmission technology to 10 years in response to customer complaints.

Today’s broadcast also identified flaws in Apple Inc. (AAPL:US)’s after-sales service and said Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co. (600418) sold cars with rusted chassis. Apple’s spokeswoman in Beijing, Carolyn Wu, didn’t answer her mobile phone or reply to an e-mail seeking comment. Jianghuai Auto Board Secretary Wang Min didn’t answer a call to his office outside regular business hours.

Past Programs

Carrefour SA (CA), France’s biggest retailer, temporarily shut an outlet in Central China’s Henan province last year and issued an apology to consumers after a CCTV investigation found it falsely labeled meat sold at the store. The retailer had sold regular chicken as premium for higher prices at the outlet and altered labels for meat production dates, CCTV said.

CCTV last year also singled out McDonald’s Corp. (MCD:US) for selling chicken wings past their sell-by period in 2012. Following the broadcast, the company was asked by food safety regulators to inspect all of its restaurants in China and to apologize to consumers.

In this year’s program, the broadcaster found impure gold made in a workshop in Shenzhen and sold in shops in Tianjin and Hebei. The program also reported some Chinese medical companies, including one in Henan province, hiring actors to masquerade as doctors to promote physical-therapy plasters.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Michael Wei in Shanghai at mwei13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anjali Cordeiro at acordeiro2@bloomberg.net


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