Asbestos car recalls – who’s responsible?


Asbestos car recalls – who’s responsible?

source Once again we find ourselves asking questions like “how this could happen? and “who is responsible?” Australia’s laws on asbestos use are widely known, and could be considered common knowledge. It seems however that somewhere along the supply chain, someone has dropped the ball, and almost 25,000 of China’s Cheely and Great Wall cars were successfully imported to Australia – with asbestos in the engine and exhaust gasket. They have since been recalled, and the importer Atecoa has been left to clean up the mess. The question however remains as to who is responsible. Atecoa says they received written assurance from the manufacturer that the cars complied with Australian health and safety regulations, but were Atecoa obligated to perform further due dilligence?

The Atecoa case is similar to the Matell fiasco in 2007, where lead paint was found on Matell’s Children’s toys. This is slightly different, because Matell was the third party contracting (although perhaps the gaskets are outsourced to a third party factory as well). Either way, someone needs to notice.

It’s a timely reminder that importers need to pay attention to the fine details, even when they are not manufacturing the products themselves. Not only will it help importers avoid any unwanted headaches, but it will also help cement their reputations as reliable members of the import community.

While the Atecoa case has caused much debate in the automobile community, regardless of who may be at fault, thankfully Australian customs got it right this time!

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