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China’s quality inspection agency has halted the import of several models made by French carmaker Renault, citing what it called “serious safety risks” and failure to meet technical standards.

The General Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said on its website (www.aqsia.gov.cn) the ban covered Renault’s Laguna, Scenic, Megane and Megane Coupe-Cabriolet.

“In recent import inspections, we have repeatedly found batches of passenger vehicles made by the French Renault … do not conform with our country’s mandatory standards and relevant technical regulations, and there are serious safety risks,” it said in a statement.

China is the world’s largest market for new-car sales.

Reuters newsagency quotes a Renault spokeswoman assaying the company was “surprised” by the decision as the models cited by the statement were built in Western factories to the same standards as those for other markets.

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She added that their quality had been demonstrated by studies and specialist press reviews.

Every car cited has earned the top rating of five stars from independent European crash test agency EuroNCAP.

AQSIQ also said that in the past year Renault cars “have many times revealed quality problems.”

The statement, however, did not specify what safety problems it had identified.

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The quality watchdog urged Renault to carefully examine all vehicles exported to China to ensure the security of products to Chinese customers.

The Renault spokeswoman said China represented a very small market for the French manufacturer, with fewer than 900 cars sold there in 2008.






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