(Yicai Global) Jan. 2 -- The number of autos involved in vehicle recalls in China last year almost halved from 2018, while cars made by German luxury marques BMW and Mercedes-Benz had the most defects.
Chinese authorities recalled 6.54 million vehicles in 2019 due to quality issues, public records show. There were 12.5 million in 2018. Munich-based BMW was the biggest culprit at 1.18 million, accounting for 18 percent of last year's total. Faulty airbags made by Japanese parts supplier Takata accounted for 360,000 of the BMW cars called in, while fuel leaks were responsible for 300,000. Other issues included engine faults and front distribution box complications.
Daimler's Mercedes-Benz came in second with 1.01 million recalled vehicles. The Stuttgart-based automaker was hit by scandal in April when a customer in Xi'an, central Shaanxi province, posted an angry video online about an oil leak in her brand new CLS 300 which went viral.
Most of the recalls were connected to Takata airbags. More than 10 other leading carmakers had this defect, including Toyota, Ford, Honda, Land Rover and Tesla.
Takata airbags have led to hundreds of deaths worldwide over the last 10 years. When the airbag is deployed with too much force it can rupture the airbag inflator housing causing sharp metal fragments to fly out injuring, and sometimes killing, the car's occupants. Takata went bankrupt in 2017.
New energy vehicle makers mostly had battery issues. Shanghai-based Nio recalled 4,803 units in June and Beijing-based BAIC BJEV called in 1,389 cars in July for fire hazards related to some battery packs.
Despite a Tesla car going up in flames in Shanghai last April, the US electric car giant has not recalled any vehicles in China due to battery problems. Tesla said no system defects were found in its investigation of the accident.
As of the end of 2018, China had recalled 81.8 million defective vehicles. This was out of 327 million vehicles on the country's roads at that time, which included 240 million autos and 2.61 million new energy vehicles. China has implemented an internationally accepted vehicle recall system since 2004.
Editor: Kim Taylor