China Media Criticism Leads to Jaguar Land Rover Recall

Mar 21, 2015 09:47 AM EDT | Matt Mercuro

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Jaguar Land Rover is calling back about 36,000 SUVs in China after state television aired complaints over company gearboxes.

The recall affects Land Rover Range Rover Evoque SUVs and the automaker will extend the warranty period for all affected vehicle's gearboxes, according to Reuters.

On Sunday, a CCTV show accused the U.K.-based automaker of not responding to customer complaints over defective gearboxes.

The show targeted other automakers like Nissan, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, of over-charging customers at its service facilities. All of the companies mentioned in the programs have since apologized.

Jaguar Land Rover is already being investigated by Chinese regulators over possible anti-competitive behavior in China, the world's largest and most important auto market.

The automaker has also apologized to customers on its verified Sina Wibo blog, or China's version of Twitter.

"We will carry out a recall initiative and give consumers a deep apology," the company said in its blog post.

On Friday, Jaguar Land Rover said 36,451 Evoques from model years 2014 and 2015 would be called back over software-related complaints like "poor gear shift quality, increased transmission noise and the inability to select drive when the vehicle is restarted under certain conditions," according to a company statement.

The gearbox software will be upgraded free of charge and the warranty period of affected gearboxes will be extended to 7 years after the date of purchase from 3 years, or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first.

The CCTV station usually criticizes foreign companies on World Consumer Rights Day, taking aim at McDonald's and Apple in recent years.

Though foreign automakers have been the subject of attacks by Chinese state media over quality concerns, surveys among Chinese customers show that they are considered to be of higher quality than Chinese brands, according to The Wall-Street Journal.

Last year, Jaguar Land Rover sold more than 122,000 vehicles in China, a 28 percent improvement from the previous year.

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