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by Tim Beissmann

The safety of Chinese cars has again been thrown into question, with the cut-price Geely MK small car recalled to correct two structural issues that could cause serious injury to its occupants in the event of a crash.

The recall affects all 421 Geely MK sedans and hatchbacks imported to Australia, and comes 10 months after local safety authority ANCAP identified the defects to the driver’s seat and the rear doors, during a crash test of the hatchback in September 2011.

The official recall notice published on the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) website describes the two structural defects:

“1. The left side of the driver’s side seat slide mechanism may not lock as intended and may allow the driver’s seat to move forward … in the event of a severe frontal accident … possibly resulting in serious injury to the occupant.

“2. The rear door may become unlatched in the event of a severe side impact accident … in the event of a severe side impact accident …possibly resulting in serious injury to the occupant.”

Sold exclusively in Western Australia by local importer Chinese Automotive Distributors (CAD), the Geely MK is priced from $11,990 driveaway, making it one of the cheapest cars on the market.

CAD confirmed 308 of the recalled vehicles have been sold, with the remaining 113 still in inventory stock held by the Western Australian distributor.

CAD says it will replace both the left and right rear door assemblies and will undertake an inspection of the driver’s seat rail locking mechanism during the recall service.

 

The Geely MK is equipped with two airbags (front driver and passenger bags), anti-lock brakes (ABS) and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), but is not available with electronic stability control (ESC), seatbelt pretensioners or reminders, or the option to add side or curtain airbags.

ANCAP awarded the Geely MK three stars out of five in September after the hatchback scored 20.56 points out of 37 in the local crash test. Both defects were noted on ANCAP’s official crash test report.

Chinese cars have a disappointing safety record in Australia, despite being on the market for just three years. In that time, there have been six individual recalls for Chinese vehicles, including three for Great Wall, two for Chery and the latest one for Geely.

Few have excelled in ANCAP’s crash tests either: the Chery J11 and Great Wall SA220 and V240 scored just two stars, while the Chery J1 managed three stars. The Great Wall X240 performed the best, earning a creditable four-star result.

ANCAP does not recommend purchasing a new vehicle with fewer than four stars.




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