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Chery J1 recalled in response to ANCAP result

Seat of the issue: ANCAP says a recall to replace the front seat backrests of Chery’s J1 would not result in the car earning an extra star if re-tested.

Ateco recalls 702 Chery J1s to replace front seat backrests and improve crash safety

3 Aug 2011

AUSTRALIA’S cheapest car, the Chery J1 – priced at just $10,990 drive-away – has been recalled to address concerns over the three-star ANCAP safety rating it attained in May.

All 702 examples of the Chinese-built J1 brought into Australia so far – including vehicles sold, dealer and importer stock – are being recalled to have the backrests of their front seats replaced with redesigned components that Chery importer Ateco says “perform substantially better”.

Ateco’s Chinese brands spokesman Daniel Cotterill told GoAuto the seat redesign was “done in light of the ANCAP crash testing that was done here, where we got a three-star result”.

“I don’t think anyone was too pleased with that, so they redesigned that (backrest) component,” he said.

The ACCC recall website describes the J1’s defect as being an “internal non-conformity of both front seat backrests”, and that “under certain operating conditions, the integrity of the seat frame structure may be compromised”.

Mr Cotterill said Ateco had seen test results of the car with the redesigned backrests and been pleased with the results.

62 center imageLeft: Chery J1 undergoing ANCAP frontal crash test.

“We think it performs substantially better now in private testing and we think actually it’d probably get four stars now,” he said.

ANCAP spokesman Allan Yates suggested that the J1 would not be re-tested, meaning its three-star rating will remain until at least the model’s next significant revision.

This was confirmed by ANCAP business manager Nicholas Clarke, who said the recall “will not affect the current 3 star rating for the Chery J1”.

Chery J1 owners will be contacted by letter and advised to contact their dealer to arrange for the replacement of their front seat backrests. The procedure will involve the removal of both front seats. They will be re-fitted using new mounting bolts.

The Australian-delivered J1 went on sale in March this year and went on to sell an average of 61 units a month, peaking in May with 82 sales.

Just seven J1s were sold in July, meaning 451 of the 702 cars imported to Australia remain unsold with the Australia-wide November deadline for mandatory electronic stability control (ESC) fast approaching.

At the time of the J1’s ANCAP test, the crash-testing organisation expressed concern about the vehicle’s lack of ESC – and issue that Ateco says it will address.

A state law mandating ESC has kept the J1 and its J11 SUV stablemate out of Victorian showrooms since January 1.

Ateco – which pioneered Chinese vehicles on the Australian market – also recalled its V240 twin-cab ute in December 2009 after its ANCAP test revealed a potential seatbelt problem.

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