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Chery recalls 1664 J11 SUVs

Take a seat: Like its smaller J1 stablemate, the Chery J11 SUV (pictured) will have its front seat backrests replaced in a bid to increase side impact safety.

Ateco to replace front seat backrests of all Chery J11 SUVs in bid to improve safety

28 Sep 2011

CHERY importer Ateco Automotive is recalling its Chinese-built J11 compact SUV to fit redesigned backrests on the front seats as it did in August with its J1 as a response to the light car's disappointing three-star ANCAP safety rating.

The recall affects all 1664 Chery J11s on the ground in Australia – including the 761 sold to the end of August.

A recall notice on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website says: “The side impact capabilities of the vehicle may not adequately protect the occupants in the event of an accident.” It goes on to say that Australia’s most affordable SUV – effectively priced at just $17,990 drive away when a $2000 cashback offer is taken to account – may not “perform to the manufacturer's required specifications” in the event of a side impact.

Ateco’s Chinese brands spokesman Daniel Cotterill told GoAuto the voluntary recall of the J11 – which involves similar componentry to the J1 recall – was “Chery learning from issues they had with the J1”.

62 center imageLeft: Chery J1 (foreground), Chery J11.

“In light of the J1 experience they decided to improve the J11,” he said.

“It’s no secret that nobody was happy with the J1 and they moved to rectify that but it clearly also motivated them to look at other vehicles in their fleet and see what they could do there.” GoAuto understands ANCAP has recently tested the J11 and spokesman Allan Yates confirmed the results will be published “within a few weeks”.

Mr Cotterill said J11 owners will be notified by mail, inviting them to make an appointment with their nearest Chery dealer to get the work done at a convenient time and that parts to carry out the recall work are ready to go.

“We have seats here because you really need to have parts available before you announce a recall but we’ve clearly been moving quickly to get this sorted out.

“With the J1 the first several batches of parts were air-freighted out and then we moved to sea freight soon after that to ensure availability.” As GoAuto reported in August, Ateco recalled the J1 – which priced at just $10,990 drive-away is Australia’s cheapest car – to replace the front-seat backrests in response to its three-star ANCAP crash test rating.

In July Ateco carried out its own tests of the J1 at the Autoliv crash test centre in Melbourne, claiming the replacement seat components were proved to perform “substantially better”.

However a comment by Mr Cotterill that the J1 could potentially achieve a four star rating if re-tested incurred the wrath of ANCAP, with chairman Lauchlan McIntosh issuing a statement saying: “The modifications would not impact the overall crash test result, and the Ateco engineering staff should be aware of this.

“The Chery J1 performed poorly in the crash tests – the passenger compartment lost structural integrity in the frontal impact test, providing limited protection from serious chest injury for the driver.

“We are disappointed at (Chery’s) comments, particularly given ANCAP works closely with the automotive industry to deliver safer vehicles for Australian motorists.” ANCAP told GoAuto the J1 would not be re-tested, meaning its three-star rating will remain until at least the model’s next significant revision.

Mr Cotterill said that after Ateco’s test of a J1 following the fitment of new backrests, various technical people from Ateco and the Autoliv crash lab commented that it was a pity that the modification had not been done before the ANCAP test “because it probably would have got four stars”.

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