Great Wall Shares Slide In Hong Kong; Serious Questions Still To Be Answered

Tim O'Brien | Aug 16, 2012
  • Great Wall Shares Slide In Hong Kong; Serious Questions Still To Be Answered
  • News Limited Muddies Issue On Asbestos-related Recall Of Great Wall And Chery Vehicles

Great Wall Shares Slide In Hong Kong; Serious Questions Still To Be Answered

The discovery of asbestos in Great Wall and Chery cars exported to Australia has bitten in China.

Bloomberg reports that shares in Chinese automakers have sunk lower in Hong Kong, led by Great Wall, on the reports of the discovery of asbestos in cars and car parts exported to Australia.

And, perhaps making the issue worse, a spokesman for Chery, Huang Huaqiong, told Bloomberg that workers at Chery "mistakenly used a wrong batch of parts that wasn’t supposed to be used in cars exported to Australia".

This then raises a serious question: which countries do import Great Wall and Chery cars where parts containing asbestos are quite deliberately and purposely used?

A well-known carcinogen, asbestos has a proven link with the development of mesothelioma - a malignancy of the lining of the lungs - which can result from inhaling the fibres but which can remain dormant for decades.

Worldwide, fifty-five countries, including all members of the EU, ban the use of asbestos in car components (among other products). Australia banned its use on December 31 2003.

So, perhaps Great Wall and Chery might enlighten the market as to which of its export markets cars containing asbestos-contaminated parts are sold. There would appear to be quite a bit more to run to this part of the story.

And there is more on the issue here.

Many buyers and owners of Great Wall and Chery products might question why, when the presence of asbestos was discovered some months ago, it has taken until now for the market to be informed.

Ateco Automotive's Daniel Cotterill told TMR that "there was full and open disclosure with regulators but we couldn't speak to the public until we had agreement on a strategy to deal with the issue".

"Once we were alerted to it, we tried to dicover the extent of the issue. Then we went out to regulators, to Workcover, to work through the issue and work through the risk assessments," he said.

Dealers were informed "around two weeks ago". Mr Cotterill said that the health risk is deemed to be very low and that lots of cars are running around with the same gasket material as "it was in common use before 2004".

News Limited Muddies Issue On Asbestos-related Recall Of Great Wall And Chery Vehicles

When is a recall not a recall? When News Limited says it isn't? I don't think so.

Under headlines "No recall in Australia on Chinese cars built with asbestos parts" (Adelaide Now, and news.com.au, 6:17pm, 15/8), and, a second, "Chinese asbestos cars not recalled" (The Telegraph, 12:00am, 16/8), in a curious exercise in semantic as to what constitutes a recall, Paul Gover of News Limited says "not".

"There will be no recall of the nearly 24,000 Chinese-made cars sold in Australia with asbestos parts," his report begins.

So, has a recall been issued for the "nearly 24,000" Great Wall and Chery vehicles or not?

Perhaps we might ask the ACCC; after all, the ACCC is monitoring the matter with distributor Ateco, which may have breached hazardous substances regulations under the Occupational Health and Safety (Safety Standards) Regulations 1994. (A national ban on the use of all forms of asbestos took effect in Australia on 31 December 2003.)

And there it is: a media release dated 15/08/2012 heading the ACCC website begins as follows:

"The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is monitoring a recall of approximately 23,000 Great Wall and Chery motor vehicles with engine and exhaust gaskets containing asbestos."

Further, ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said, "Asbestos is a prohibited hazardous substance and these engines and exhaust systems should only be worked on by qualified personnel using appropriate safety procedures."

More to the same point, if handled incorrectly, it poses a risk to health and well-being, even at trace levels.

And, can anyone attest with any certainty that the affected parts have not been handled incorrectly by a service technician unaware at the time of handling of the presence of asbestos?

Almost 30 different gaskets have been found to contain asbestos. Ms Rickard told the ABC, "The best evidence that we have from the scientific experts is that unless (our emphasis) someone sort of mechanically abraded the gasket, there is minimal risk."

2011 chery j3 01

That is a not insignificant "unless". It is the kind of "unless" in fact that can expose Ateco to common law asbestos liabilities.

It is certainly not an issue which News Limited should be muddying, inadvertently or otherwise.

The ACCC has also advised that Ateco has "recalled gaskets that were distributed as spare parts".

In other words, affected parts are also subject to a recall and will be removed from dealer stocks, service centres and parts stockists.

Daniel Cotterill said that Ateco will be writing to their customers and will include a copy of a risk assessment Ateco commissioned from health and safety consultants, Hibbs & Associates.

They might be expecting a bit more than that.

Tim O'Brien
- TMR Managing Editor

Filed under: Featured, great wall motors, recall, News, tim o'brien, great wall x200, asbestos

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  • donk1 says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    How ATECO AUTO AUST even got permission to get a licence to import these vehicles is beyond me. These vehicles are shocking. Great Wall & Chery have way below average quality, safety, reliabilty & resale . Plus they use poor quality Chinese & Russian steel which is known to rust severely. These vehicles should be slapped with an indefinate import suspension until all issues including the use of asbestos has been addressed. All remaining vehicles should be removed from dealers and stored or sent back to their respective manufacturers. But when you pay peanuts, you are guaranteed a complete dud!
    • paul says,
      2 years ago
      4 likes
      i have had an x200 for a year now with trouble free motoring, people like you that have no idea should keep there mouth shut.
  • donk1 says,
    2 years ago
    No wonder shares in Chery & Great Wall have dived. These brands are going to find it hard to survive in Australia, and the more recalls, the harder it will get, even though they are usually only bought on price alone, rather than safety, reliability and quality.
  • Novar Gardens says,
    2 years ago
    Ateco got snowed. Ultimately you get what you pay for - unsafe, poor quality, poor resale value the list just keeps going! Untrustworthy company reflects untrustworthy country! Wake up car buyers. The old adage of if it seems too good to be true then it probably is - and in this case it most certainly was!
  • Les says,
    2 years ago
    3 likes
    I also have an x200 & am very happy with it. I have not had a single prolbem since I brought it.
    I am a Qualified motor mechanic & did a lot of research before I handed over the money. I'm with Paul, unless you know what your talking about, then don't talk at all.
    • Ward Paterson says,
      2 years ago
      2 likes
      Ha!

      You ultimately get what you pay for. Obviously you were wearing your "I have a tight a$$" hat on rather than your mechanics hat when you decided to buy these gutless wonders..
    • paddy says,
      2 years ago
      1 like
      I don't think a year of troublefree motoring constitutes to a good buy, and a lifetime of the peace of mind of owning a safe and reliable car. Think of an Alfa, brilliant out of the showroom, only this many times worse. I see the tow truck at my local Great Wall and Chery dealers from time to time because cars break down and run into problems countless times and have to be towed back to the dealer.

      I'm surprised these even made it into the market in the first place.
  • donk1 says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    Those of you who paid the driveaway price of $20000+ don't take into consideration that you lose the first $4000-$5000 as soon as you drive the vehicle off the showroom floor. The depreciation on Chery & Great Wall is huge, and with an average of only 48-50% resale value after 3 yrs, means they are poor value for money. As I've previously posted you get what you pay for, and by the way, I have 30 yrs experience in both the motoring & transport industries, so am well qualified to criticise these poor quality brands. I at least get a chance to see first hand a lot of vehicles as they are released into Australia, and if you have the experience, its easy enough to see a high quality vehicle as well as a complete dud.
    • Dave says,
      2 years ago
      I buy a new car every 2 years, It is a business expense for me, and over the past 10-15 years of doing so I have lost 50% or more on every vehicle I have traded, it doesn’t matter what it was Toyota, ford, or Holden they are all the same and I have had a recall on nearly all of them my Toyota Aurion was just recalled because they were spontaneously combusting. I have had a ford that was recalled because the cruise control wouldn’t release and the car wouldn’t stop.
      So in my opinion having a car that is recalled because of dodgy exhaust gasket would be relief.
    • Boxer says,
      2 years ago
      For someone claiming 30 years experience in the industry, you are remarkedly ill informed. $4-5 grand depreciation on most cars is common. Given that many components in cars manufactured in other companies have Chinese parts, are you suggesting all of these are dodgy too? What about the BMWs made in Africa, or the VWs from Mexico and Brazil, the Suzuki's from India etc.
    • Roger says,
      2 years ago
      That kind of depreciation is large for a 4x4/commercial. They have significantly higher resales than consumer vehicles. I have traded 2 Patrols in the past and got 50% as a trade-in for a vehicle 5 years old with 120k on the clock (on top of getting the driveaway price on the new vehicle down). If I had have sold it privately would have got a lot more, but couldnt be bothered with the hassle.
  • cyclone says,
    2 years ago
    2 likes
    Knowingly using banned products. Shock horror. Something dodgy from dodgy brands. It was only banned 9 years ago. It takes a while for memos to get thru to companies that don't care
  • wonton says,
    2 years ago
    It's a disgrace that the government of Australia allowed toxic chinese made cars into australia. In the lase several years, Australian government has been letting communist china taking over many of Australian's vital mining and resources! They are now even considering allying with communist china over the U.S. It's a disgrace that they bow down to their new master, communist china. If this trend continues, it won't be long until chinese flags start flying all over australia.
  • Unhappy Owner says,
    2 years ago
    Huge rust problem. Have a V240 blistering rust in and around a lot of weld seams, some being structural areas in the main body which could pose as a safety hazard in an accident. Closer look there is no metal preparation with rust inhibitors prior to painting, some other areas no paint, just primer. If you got this issue go to Fair Trading. No one should have a 2 year old car rusting regardless of price.
    • Boxer says,
      2 years ago
      You have a 3 year warranty, Unhappy, take it back and get it fixed. Or are you part of the disinformation brigade who can't cope with a bit of competition in the market.
      • Unhappy Owner says,
        2 years ago
        Firstly Harvey, what has competition got to do with it if I own one of these vehicles. Secondly I would have had it repaired under warranty if they had offered me a statement which explains the remedial process. You see Harvey, the recipe to paint a new car is Step 1: Treat all metal surfaces by dipping in a tank with solutions that will inhibit the formation of corrosion, the solution wicks into all the seams. In my opinion this has not been done. Then you can apply all other coatings. It is not a simple fix. Harvey I am not one that bags products for the sake of bagging them. Its not my nature.
  • Steven says,
    2 years ago
    It is a shame that some people are blinded by what seems to be big corporate firms scare mongering us. They love people saying "you get what you pay for", rubbish guys, even a ford falcon costing well over $35,000 has had recalls, has had many issues that are design faults that fords have never fixed, these firms are trying to protect their huge profits, and deep pockets by brain washing us into thinking that just because you pay 30, 40 thousand that your getting a better made product, well guess what your not, these firms are just making more profit. If fords or Holden were to reduce their prices to a more realistic price then people would buy them over a imported car, but quite simply if Australian based firms want to survive, lower your profits, lower your CEO bonus's and provide better value for money, instead of ripping us off. Most parts are made overseas that ford's or Holden's use anyway, its just they are assembled here really, and a big profit margin added on for the privilege.
    Wake up Australians, stop being brain washed into paying more dollars so you can line the pockets of the CEO's and directors.
  • donk1 says,
    2 years ago
    Sorry Harvey , but Euro manufacturers do not use Chinese spare parts on their cars , due to safety & quality concerns. ALL euro manufacturers use only their own manufactured & approved parts, regardless of where their vehicles are manufactured. As for locals like Ford/Holden/Toyota., again all parts are usually sourced locally or from Japan, Thailand or Europe which have strict quality control. I hope this clears your misconceptions.
  • donk1 says,
    2 years ago
    Oh Harvey, I forgot to add that when you are paying a $12,000 drive away price on a Chery, losing $4000-5000 in the 1 st yr makes them worth no more than $3000-$4000 after 3 yrs. Drepeciation is always high in the first 2 yrs of any vehicles ownership!
  • donk1 says,
    2 years ago
    Just saw a 2011 Great Wall V240 Ute advertised in Sydney with 16000km for $11000. So its lost $12,000+ in its first yr. Ouch. In its 2nd yr it will only be worth about $9000 at the most. As I've said in previous posts, you get what you pay for!
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