Ford will recall 191,770 cars in China to replace parts after a quality watchdog found a fuel leak risk in the Ford Focus, the country’s best-selling compact sedan.
Ford’s Chinese venture Changan Ford will recall new Focus and classic Focus sedans produced as early as 2009, according to a statement on China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine’s website.
The Ford Focus was the best-selling model in the compact sedan segment last year with sales of 403,600 cars and remained top of the ranking in the first seven months of 2014, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Chinese carmakers recalled a record 5.3 million vehicles last year as regulators stepped up efforts to protect consumers. Nearly 40 percent of the vehicles were recalled after government investigations into potential defects.
The Ford recall came after an inspection by the quality watchdog in response to customer complaints over fuel leak issues that potentially could lead to fires, according to experts.
Changan Ford launched a customer satisfaction scheme but decided to upgrade it to an official recall to ensure all cars in question were covered and to “alleviate any potential customer concerns,” according to Ford China spokesperson Claire Li.
It’s not clear how the recall will affect Ford’s China business.
The automaker’s China sales are already showing signs of a slowdown, posting a nine percent year-on-year volume increase in August, down from double-digit growth in all other months this year and a 49 percent surge in 2013.
Changan Ford, Ford’s venture with Chongqing Changan Automobile will replace the necessary components for free to eliminate safety hazards, according to the statement.
China’s quality watchdog will monitor the recall and may require Ford to expand or renew the recall if necessary.
Ford, a latecomer to the world’s most populous market, is stepping up efforts to catch up with rivals such as GM and Volkswagen.
Ford has also brought its premium Lincoln brand to China with eight Lincoln retail outlets in seven Chinese cities.