Land Rover recalls 36,000 SUVs after China media criticism

Jaguar Land Rover is recalling more than 36,000 cars from China, it said, after it was criticised by state television over allegedly faulty gearboxes.

The company, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors, also apologised to Chinese consumers in the online statement, posted late yesterday, which followed it being targeted in a China Central Television (CCTV) programme at the weekend.

The programme alleged owners of the Range Rover Evoque sport-utility vehicles had experienced problems with gearboxes.

“We will carry out a recall initiative and give consumers a deep apology,” the company said on its verified account on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, adding the recall applied to 36,451 vehicles.

Jaguar Land Rover also said it would extend the warranty period for the gearboxes to seven years or 240,000 kilometres.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV commonly takes aim at foreign companies on World Consumer Rights Day on March 15, criticising the likes of Apple and McDonald’s in the past.

China’s media is tightly controlled by the ruling Communist Party, and will rarely independently report on sensitive political issues. Foreign enterprises, however, are considered fair game.

But the CCTV programme, which was broadcast live, also singled out some domestic companies, including telecommunications service providers, for failing to prevent calls that could result in fraud.

Foreign auto manufacturers are already under pressure in China, the world’s largest car market, following a sweeping investigation into alleged monopoly pricing for parts and complete vehicles.

Last year China fined 10 Japanese auto parts firms more than USD 200 million in total for price-fixing.