Peugeot recall highlights China’s growing focus on consumer safety, says Eversheds

Peter Shervington, product liability expert at Eversheds, has commented on the latest news that Peugeot China has recalled more than 160,000 vehicles.

Shervington noted that for car-makers, undertaking a consumer recall is a major step wherever it takes place — the direct costs of contacting vehicle owners, disseminating information through dealer networks and informing regulatory authorities are substantial. He said that in the long run there can be a significant impact on brand image, morale and investor confidence.

He said: ‘The regulation of automotive product safety in China has been developing at an impressive speed over the past few years as the authorities seek to keep pace with increasing consumer wealth and a huge expansion in the number of vehicles purchased. The figures speak for themselves; 5.3 million vehicles were recalled in China in 2013, an increase of 65.5 per cent on the previous year.

Shervington said that in the scale of auto-recalls, the announcement from Peugeot’s Chinese venture ‘is not earth shattering’. However it is, he added, ‘a timely reminder that China is no soft touch when it comes to product safety’.

‘Peugeot Citroen will want to be seen to act quickly and decisively to protect consumer safety and be working hard to minimise the impact on their brand in a crucial market,’ he concluded.