Owned by Kuwaiti and private equity investors, Aston Martin said it
would now recall 17,590 cars, including all of its left-hand drive
models built since November 2007 and all right-hand drive models
built since May 2012.
That affects about 75 percent of all vehicles built in that period,
a spokeswoman said. Its Vanquish model is not affected.
Aston Martin found that Shenzhen Kexiang Mould Tool Co Limited, a
Chinese subcontractor that moulds the affected accelerator pedal
arms, was using counterfeit DuPont plastic material, according to
documents filed with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety
The material was supplied by Synthetic Plastic Raw Material Co Ltd
of Dongguan, according to the documents.
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. The engine would return
to idle and the driver would be unable to maintain or increase
speed, according to the documents.
Aston Martin spokeswoman Sarah Calam said there had been no reports
of accidents or injuries related to the issue and 22 failed parts
had been reported. She said the financial impact to the automaker
was small, but did not quantify the total.
The cost of the recall is of great interest because Aston Martin has
struggled to fund the development of a range of new vehicles while
rivals like Bentley, owned by Volkswagen <VOWG_p.DE>, and Rolls
Royce, owned by BMW <BMWG.DE>, have the ability to draw on the
resources of their parent firms.
Aston Martin's owners include Italian private equity fund
Investindustrial, Kuwait-based Adeem Investment and Prime Wagon.
Germany's Daimler AG <DAIGn.DE> also has stake of less than 5
percent in the British automaker.
Of the Aston Martin cars affected in the recall, 7,271 are in Europe
and 5,001 in the United States, Calam said. The company sells cars
in 41 countries.
The latest recall replaces one announced last May and expanded in
Because of the issue, Aston Martin is now being supplied directly by
a DuPont distributor.
Both Aston Martin and chemical company Dupont <DD.N> sent people to
China to directly supervise the production of all pedal arms,
including verifying each bag of DuPont plastic material, Calam said.
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The automaker plans to shift production of the pedal arms from China
to the United Kingdom "as soon as possible" in 2014, she said.
Last May, Aston Martin initially recalled 2,832 cars globally to
replace the accelerator pedal arm after finding the affected part
included material that did not meet specifications, Calam said.
After another arm broke that was not part of that group, the company
expanded the recall to 16,825 cars and required the use of material
made by DuPont.
When one of the replacement parts broke in December during
installation by a U.S. dealer in Connecticut, however, Aston Martin
froze the recall and found the counterfeit plastic material was
being used in place of the DuPont material, she said.
The recall includes all the cars previously repaired, Calam said.
Under the recall, Aston Martin will replace the accelerator pedal
The manufacturer of the throttle pedal assembly that included the
counterfeit material is Precision Varionic International Limited,
according to the NHTSA documents.
The company's quality director, John Penman, did not immediately
return calls and messages seeking comment.
It is not the first time DuPont has dealt with piracy in relation to
U.S. prosecutors indicted a California businessman in 2011 with
stealing DuPont trade secrets in order to sell them to a Chinese
company. That trial is ongoing.
(Additional reporting by Laurence Frost
in Paris; editing by Nick Zieminski and Sophie Hares)
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