SHANGHAI (AFP) – A Chinese joint venture of German car maker BMW will recall more than 140,000 cars in the world's largest auto market over power steering defects, China's quality watchdog said Monday.
BMW Brilliance Automotive will next month start recalling 143,215 5-series cars made in the three years from August 2009, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China said in a statement.
BMW Brilliance, a 50-50 joint venture with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings, will replace defective plugs on the vehicles that could cause safety hazards, the quality inspector said.
The planned recall comes after BMW in late July failed to get Chinese government approval for a 9.2 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) plant expansion scheme in the northern city of Shenyang.
In a statement posted on July 26, China's environmental protection ministry said it had rejected a BMW Brilliance proposal to expand a production facility as it failed to pass environmental tests.
China became the world's largest auto market in 2009.
Consulting firm McKinsey forecasts China's passenger car market to grow an average of eight percent annually through to 2020, when sales will reach 22 million.
Foreign automakers have announced expansion plans in China to try to seize a bigger share of the market, as the country's increasing wealth gives consumers more money to spend.
US automaker General Motors announced in June it would invest $11 billion in China through 2016, as it broke ground on a plant to produce luxury Cadillacs.
And in May German auto giant Volkswagen broke ground on a new plant in the central city of Changsha, due for completion at the end of 2015, with an annual output capacity of about 300,000 vehicle.