Expanded recall to cost Aston Martin around $2.45 million

Article by Anita Panait, on February 9, 2014

An expanded recall of accelerator pedals in 17,590 Aston Martin sports cars will cost the carmaker GBP1.5 million ($2.45 million), in line with an estimate it made in 2013. Aston Martin announced the first recall in May 2013 and expanded it in October. The carmaker then expanded the recall this week to include most of the sports cars it built since late 2007.

The expanded recall now includes all Aston Martin left-hand-drive models built since November 2007 as well as all right-hand-drive models built since May 2012. A spokeswoman for the carmaker said the recall affects around 75 percent of all vehicles built during period, although it doesn’t include the Aston Martin Vanquish.

Aston Martin announced the expanded recall after finding out that a Chinese sub-supplier was using fake plastic material in the pedals, which could break and increase the risk of a crash. Aston Martin said in a statement that it determined the cost of the recall in late November 2013. The GBP1.5 million estimate, however, does not include the potential cost of moving production of the pedal. According to Aston Martin spokeswoman Sarah Calam, the carmaker intends to shift output of the pedal arms from China to the United Kingdom "as soon as possible" this year.

The recall’s cost has been given importance as Aston Martin has struggled to finance new vehicle developments while rivals Bentley and Rolls-Royce could rely on the resources of their parents. According to Calam, the recall covers 7,271 units in Europe and 5,001 sports cars in the United States.

Aston Martin sells cars in 41 countries. Affected units are those from 2008-2014 model years, according to documents from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Aston Martin found that Shenzhen Kexiang Mould Tool Co. Ltd. was using counterfeit plastic material supplied by Synthetic Plastic Raw Material Co. Ltd.

In a letter send to the NHTSA, Aston Martin said that Shenzhen Kexiang, which made its accelerator pedal arms, was using counterfeit DuPont plastic material. In reality, Shenzhen Kexiang was a “third tier” subcontractor to Aston Martin, as the carmaker sourced its throttle pedals from United Kingdom-based company. This UK firm tapped a Hong Kong company, which in turn hired Shenzhen Kexiang. Shenzhen Kexiang then sourced the counterfeit plastic material from Synthetic Plastic Raw Material Co.

Such practice – having a long chain of subcontractors – isn't uncommon in global outsourcing. In its Web site, Shenzen Kexiang says it was founded in 2003 by Mr. Zhang. It main customers come America and Canada, England, Germany, Sweden and Japan, according to the web site.

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