Rich Lister's Chinese cars escape asbestos recall

Across the Tasman, a regulator is monitoring the recall of 23,000 Chinese-made vehicles. Here, the rules are more lax.

About 23,000 Chinese Great Wall (pictured) and Chery cars have been recalled in Australia because they contain asbestos, but vehicles in New Zealand will not be.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says it is monitoring a recall of the Chinese vehicles with engine and exhaust gaskets containing asbestos.

Small levels were found in the engine and exhaust gaskets of a small number of cars.

The ACCC says there is no risk to consumers during use of the vehicles but warned they should not perform do-it-yourself maintenance which might disturb the gaskets.

The use of any asbestos has been prohibited in Australia since 2004, but before that gaskets containing the product were common.

New Zealand does not have such strict rules relating to asbestos.

NBR Rich Lister Neville Crichton, worth $175 million, is a part-owner of Great Wall Motors New Zealand. 

Across the Tasman, the ACCC has noted Ateco, which imports the vehicles, has:

  • Instructed all Chery and Great Wall dealers to ‘stop sale’ of affected vehicles
  • Recalled gaskets that were distributed as spare parts
  • Ensured all newly supplied cars and replacement gaskets are asbestos-free
  • Arranged to directly advise car owners that gaskets should be replaced by authorised mechanics when replacement is required
  • Arranged for warning stickers to be placed in the engine bay of affected cars
  • Ensured that warnings and instructions for the safe handling and disposal of gaskets are provided with all spare parts that include an affected gasket
  • Prepared a safety training video and other materials for automotive repairers.