The Conspiracy to Adulterate Bond’s Car: Aston Martin Crashes Up Against Chinese Supply Risk

The story about how one of Aston Martin’s Chinese suppliers used counterfeit raw material in a pedal assembly is a couple weeks old but continues to make headlines. CNBC has a good summary of much of the news and captures the broader concern of over the incident, which has once again shown the willingness of Chinese suppliers to cut corners to improve profits – increasing supply risk in the process for global procurement organizations.

CNBC  reports that the specific incident in the plastics area could be more widespread, noting that “some traders in one of China's largest plastics supply hubs told a Reuters reporter during a recent visit that counterfeit plastic material of the kind found in an accelerator pedal supplied to Aston Martin was widespread as manufacturers face increasing cost pressures.”

Curiously, the entire incident has helped a much more lowbrow brand differentiate itself through sourcing and quality control. Specifically, a Toyota executive is quoted in the article as suggesting to Reuters that the recall "is precisely why we don't procure much in China." CNBC further reports that “Toyota, which has extensive manufacturing activities in China, buys most critical components from China-based units of Japanese and other global parts producers. In some cases it brings in materials directly from Japan.”

As to the counterfeit material incident itself, Aston Martin notified US authorites that its supplier, a plastic injection molding company, Shenzhen Kexiang Mould Tool Co., used raw material in pedal arms that was not the Dupont plastic claimed. Furthermore, as CNBC reports, “the material was supplied by another southern China-based firm, Synthetic Plastic Raw Material Co … Kexiang was contracted to mold accelerator pedal arms by a Hong Kong company, Fast Forward Tooling, which in turn was contracted by a U.K.-based manufacturer, Precision Varionic International, according to Aston Martin documents filed with NHTSA.”

Aston Martin is remedying the situation by moving production – back to its own back yard in the UK. There’s no word yet on whether MI-6 is sending its famous secret agent to investigate.

See also:

Sustainability in Procurement: Prevent the Next “Bangladesh Factory Fire” From Happening Again

Planning a Long-Term Response to the Bangladesh Factory Fire

Sustainability in Procurement: Why Do Sweatshop Scandals Occur?

How Do You Handle Underperforming Suppliers?

Of Supplier Management…and Horsemeat

Beyond Bird Flu 2.0 – Inoculate Your Supply Base Against Supply Chain Risk

The Policy Supply Chain: Conflict Minerals and Preparing for Mandated Ethical Sourcing

Conflict Minerals Analysis: Readiness, Technology, and Questionable Practices

Conflict Minerals Compliance: Checklists, Templates, Planning Documents

Conflict Minerals Q&A: SEC Enforcement, China, Scrap, and Supplier Views

Conflict Minerals – How To Prepare Your Supply Chain (Part 1)

Conflict Minerals – How To Prepare Your Supply Chain (Part 2)

Supply Performance Management – Introduction

Supply Performance Management: Critical For Procurement Measurement

Re-thinking and Re-claiming “Tail Spend”

Offsets, Local Content, and Supplier Information Management

Offsets, Local Content and Supplier Information Management (Part 2)

Direct Material Sourcing and Supplier Management Platforms (Part 1)

Direct Material Sourcing and Supplier Management Platforms (Part 2)

Can Supplier Management Be Saved? The Problems With SIM, SRM and Risk Management (Part 1)

Can Supplier Management Be Saved? The Problems With SIM, SRM and Risk Management (Part 2)

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First Voice

  1. Steve:

    And here we have been led to believe that an Aston Martin was built by hand out of aluminum. What a cheap piece of junk! As well they use accelerator assemblies sourced from china? Cheap chinese junk on what is proven to be a real junk automobile.

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