Fake part forces Aston Martin to recall thousands of cars

Aston Martin imageAston Martin is recalling three quarters of all the cars it has built in the last few years after discovering counterfeit material in a component used in the accelerator pedal.

The luxury carmaker is contacting the owners of more than 17,000 cars manufactured since late 2007, including all left-hand drive models made since then and right-hand drive models from May 2012.

A recall notice posted on the website of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that the defective component could cause the accelerator pedal arm to break, returning the engine to idle. The recall affects some 5,000 vehicles in the US and 7,000 in Europe, and applies to all cars apart from the new Vanquish coupe and Volante models.

"The driver will be unable to maintain or increase engine speed, increasing the risk of a crash," it notes. So far there are no reports of any injuries as a result of the defective pedals, and there have been 22 breakages to date.

The company has declined to comment on the cost of the recall but a spokesperson indicated it would be minimal, with each replacement taking less than an hour.

Documents posted by Aston Martin's division in the US suggest that the Chinese company contracted to mould the pedal arms called - Shenzhen Kexiang Mould Tool Co - had used counterfeit plastic instead of the specified DuPont material.  In turn, the supplier of the counterfeit plastic is alleged to be Synthetic Plastic Raw Material Co of Dongguan.

"DuPont is delivering batches of the correct material to mould new pedal arms," said the carmaker in a statement, adding that representatives of the companies will be "physically present in China to directly supervise the production of all pedal arms."

That's a temporary solution, however, and the Chinese firms look set to lose what is likely a lucrative contract. Aston Martin has indicated it plans to start sourcing the pedal arms from a UK moulder "as soon as possible in 2014".

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