Pedal problem highlights need for supply chain vigilance

Manufacturers are being encouraged to work more closely with their Chinese suppliers in light of Aston Martin’s recall of over 17,000 vehicles.

Vehicles being recalled include left hand drive cars built between 11 November 2007 and 31 December 2013, and right hand drive cars built between May 2012 and 31 December 2013. New Vanquish Coupe, new Vanquish Volante, and Cygnet are not part of this recall.

Aston Martin spokeswoman Sarah Calam said the recall relates to a small number of throttle pedal fractures, and that the parts were made by a tier-three Chinese subcontractor that used an out of specification material in the moulding process.

The Gaydon-headquartered company added that there have been no reports of accidents or injuries involving the throttle pedal, and that work to rectify the fault would be carried out in up to an hour with no charge to the customer.

Richard Gane, supply chain director at international consultant Vendigital, believes the recall highlights wider issues surrounding the sourcing of parts from China.

He said: ‘A number of Western manufacturers have been adversely affected by sub-standard components sourced from China in recent years.

‘Such events highlight the need for supply chain visibility and for manufacturers to work closely with Chinese suppliers on the ground to ensure quality standards are met.

‘The recall might also be symptomatic of an underlying problem with Western buyer behaviour – there is too much focus on cutting cost and reducing margins and this is beginning to back fire.

‘There may also be a lack of cultural understanding during sales negotiations. For example, during such discussions, the Western buyer will assume that quality is fixed while costs are being discussed, whereas his Chinese counterpart will assume that if the price needs to be changed, then the quality does too.’

Calam stressed that Aston Martin works ‘extremely closely’ with its tier one supply chain.