Business / Auto Quality

Land Rover in faulty gearbox scandal

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-03-16 09:55

BEIJING -- China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Sunday that the world's renowned automaker Land Rover has adopted faulty gearboxes in its Evoque cars in China.

Owners of Evoque cars throughout China encountered malfunctions such as sudden stop while driving and faulty reverse gear, which re-happened soon after 4S stores changed the defective gearboxes with new ones for free, according to a consumer protection live TV show broadcast by CCTV on late Sunday, or the International Day for Protecting Consumers' Rights.

The maintenance men at different Land Rover 4S stores could not tell what exactly made gearboxes out of order. The car owners were once required to upgrade the relative software, which was apparently good for nothing.

The show exposed that Land Rover (China) denied the problems in gearbox and passed the buck to Chinese consumers, saying "they drove too fast".

However, CCTV's investigation result showed that Land Rover had found the problem long ago and issued confidential notices only to the company's engineers.

Land Rover so far has not announced any recall of Evoque cars in China, and on its website still highlighted the brand's professional spirit and high quality, but what if any serious accident occurs or malfunctions appear after the car's warranty expires, asked the show.

The average price of Evoque cars in China is over $100,000, but driving them has become "dangerous and horrible". Volkswagen launched recalls after its faulty gearbox scandal was exposed in 2013, according to the TV show.

Premier Li Keqiang asked all store owners, both online and offline, to be honest with their business and put the quality of products above everything else, at a press conference after the conclusion of the annual legislative session on Sunday.

Qiu Baochang, head of the lawyers with China Consumers' Association, who attended the show, said any kind of automobile should be recalled when problems happen in the same batch or same model.

He said automobiles are special products that are crucial to consumers' life security and automakers shall pay attention to any defect. Law enforcing departments will inform problematic companies and compel recalls when no timely recalls are announced.

Meanwhile, information of complaint, accident and medical rescue needs to be collected for experts and authorities to check and analyze, so as to intervene in time and monitor automakers when hidden dangers are spotted, Qiu added.

Apart from the Land Rover scandal, the program also revealed consumer rights infringements including fraud at famous brands' 4S stores, fake gasoline, deceptive medical advertising, mobile swindle and personal information leaks through mobile devices and the Internet.

Another lawyer Li Chunguang suggested authorities enhance law enforcement ability in the sectors of financial services, online shopping, food safety and electronic products where monopoly or low efficiency are widespread.

The TV show, broadcast for 25 consecutive years every March 15, has brought numerous scandals to light in recent years.

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