China Bans Renault Imports
By Brendan Moore
In a surprising move, China’s quality inspection agency has banned all Renault imports into China, citing unexplained “serious safety risks” and failure to meet technical standards. The models banned have all passed Europe’s stringent emission standards as well as getting the
highest score possible in the crash tests conducted by the independent European crash test agency EuroNCAP.
Renault executives said they were “surprised” by the decision from the General Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) in China. One can imagine that is a considerable understatement.
The Renault models, all built in Western production plants, are:
The statement from AQSIQ said, “In recent import inspections, we have repeatedly found batches of passenger vehicles made by the French Renault … do not conform with our country’s mandatory standards and relevant technical regulations, and there are serious safety risks.”
No, really. It actually happened yesterday.
This, from a country that has had some of its domestically-built cars fail spectacularly in the European crash test. The same test, in fact, that the Renaults passed with the best score possible. I would link to that Chinese car crash test video except that you can’t see the video on YouTube anymore. It was removed under legal pressure, but, take my word for it – it was ugly, horrific, etc.
There is considerable speculation as to the actual reason this happened; everything from Paris’ granting of honorary citizenship to the Dalai Lama, the Chinese government’s political rival, a desire to show Renault who is calling the shots in China, as Renault sells only around 900 vehicles a year in China, but wants to expand in the world’s largest car market, or, something else that only the Chinese government knows about.
Since AQSIQ won’t say what the problems are with the Renaults, you can confidently bet that the whole issue will go away quickly as soon as China’s displeasure with France or Renault subsides.
It is apparent that China feels that possession of what is now the world’s largest car market gives them carte blanche, so it seems that the auto companies, like other huge multinational companies in other industries before them, will now have to do whatever it takes to stay in the market. Public excoriations included.
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