Friday, January 22, 2010

Hot News: Great Wall V240 Recalled

The Chinese-made ute whose seatbelt failed in a round of ANCAP crash tests last year has been recalled.

The Great Wall Motors V240 -- the newer of the two available Great Wall utes -- had its front passenger seatbelt retractor fail during the independently funded test, and the driver and front passenger dummies struck the steering wheel and dashboard even though the vehicle was equipped with airbags.

The vehicle scored a "poor" rating of two stars out of five: the same as the other Great Wall ute that was tested, which was not equipped with airbags.

At the time, Ateco Automotive, the local distributor of Great Wall Motors vehicles, said it would not voluntarily recall the V240 until it had done a thorough investigation and/or was ordered to recall the vehicle by federal authorities.

The Department of Infrastructure and Transport officially ordered the V240 be recalled on December 15 and requested the seatbelts be replaced in the entire batch of 115 cars that the test vehicle was plucked from. The remaining 300 or so V240s were to be inspected.

However, Ateco Automotive has taken the recall a step further and elected to replace the seatbelts in all V240 utes sold so far, about 415 all told, and all V240 owners are advised to contact their local dealer.

The distributor temporarily stopped future shipments of the V240 until the new seatbelts could be fitted on the production line. This will likely lead to a dip in supply of the in-demand ute in the first few months of 2010.

The new seatbelt supplier for the V240 is international seatbelt manufacturer Autoliv.

The manufacturer of the faulty seatbelt in the V240 was Yizhong Safety Belt Company of Tianjing.

Yizhong supplies the seatbelt for the cheaper and older Great Wall SA220 ute, however the seatbelts and retractors are a completely different design to those originally used in the V240, says Ateco.

The seatbelt fitted to Great Wall's recently released X240 four-wheel-drive wagon is also supplied by Autoliv.

Company spokesman Daniel Cotterill told the Carsales Network: "We didn't launch into a recall [of the V240] at the time of the test because we needed to ascertain what the problem was and what the solution should be. We wanted to make sure we took the right remedial action, and not introduce a new problem.

"We did not want there to be any lingering perception regarding the safety of the vehicle. And, it must be said, Great Wall Motors themselves have taken the issue very seriously and worked very quickly to get this resolved. We have completely changed the suppliers of the seatbelts for this vehicle and introduced a change at the factory."

Other than during the ANCAP test, there have been no reports of a seatbelt retractor failure during a crash in a Great Wall ute in Australia, the company said.

The new seatbelt would not likely earn the V240 a higher safety rating if it were to be retested given that most of the injuries to the dummies occurred because of severe body deformation.

Thanks to: Car Point

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