Volkswagen hit by second Chinese state television exposé in one week

Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:46am EDT
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By Jake Spring

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's main state-owned television network struck out against Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) in its second exposé targeting the firm this week, alleging this time that the company overlooked dangerous engine leaks in its Chinese cars.

Foreign firms like Volkswagen that dominate certain sectors of the Chinese market can be particularly vulnerable to exposés that hold sway over consumers and can drag down sales.

The China Central Television (CCTV) segment on Wednesday alleged that Volkswagen customer service and dealerships ignored complaints of oil leaks pooling in the engine tray, an issue that third-party experts said could be a fire hazard.

"We are aware of media reports regarding an engine oil issue, and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused to our customers," Volkswagen spokeswoman Larissa Braun said in an emailed statement.

"We take such reports very seriously and have already launched an investigation into the matter."

The company will issue further information as soon as possible, she said.

"[The report] does pass the sniff test," said James Feldkamp, CEO of Shanghai-based consumer watchdog MingJian.

Volkswagen has recalled more than 93,000 2014 and 2015 models globally, including some models from subsidiaries Audi and Porsche, over fuel leak issues as well as nearly 38,000 in the United States, Feldkamp said.   Continued...

A security guard stand next to a Volkswagen logo at the stage of the company prior to the opening of the 15th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition April 19, 2013.  REUTERS/Carlos Barria