High-end Volkswagen Group vehicles have been impounded at US ports after they were found to contain a part that may breach US laws against forced labour.

    The Financial Times reports about 1000 Porsches, several hundred Bentleys and several thousand Audis have been impounded. Owners have reportedly been notified in a letter from the Volkswagen Group.

    Unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter told The Financial Times that the Group was unaware of the part’s origin, and that it reportedly came from deep within an indirect VW supplier’s supply chain.

    They claim the company also reportedly notified US authorities as soon as it learned where the part came from, though these sources didn’t confirm whether the part was produced in Xinjiang in western China.

    The 2021 Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act prevents the importation of goods into the US that have been “mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in Xinjiang or by an entity on the UFLPA Entity List”.

    “As soon as we received information of allegations regarding one of our sub-suppliers, we have been investigating the matter,” the company said in a statement published by The Financial Times.

    “We will clarify the facts and then take appropriate steps. These may also include the termination of a supplier relationship if our investigations confirm serious violations.”

    The supplier reportedly alerted VW of the issue when it became apparent.

    VW then reportedly communicated the breach to US authorities, who allowed the carmaker to order replacement modules and begin repair work.

    The Financial Times reports swapping the part doesn’t require disassembly of any vehicle, although complicated models may take longer to rectify.

    VW told Fox Business it’s “working to rectify a delay in delivering certain Volkswagen Group vehicles from ports to dealers due to a customs issue”.

    “This relates to a small electronic component – part of a larger control unit – which is in the process of being replaced as parts arrive,” it explained.

    “Deliveries continue, however some unavoidable delays may occur, for which we apologise. We are contacting each customer to keep them informed.”

    This isn’t the first time the VW Group has been linked to allegations of forced labour.

    VW operates a factory as part of a joint venture with SAIC Motor in the Xinjiang region of China.

    German newspaper Handelsblatt reports independent researcher Adrian Lenz found evidence forced labour was used in the construction of a test track there.

    “Volkswagen is currently in talks with the non-controlled joint venture SAIC-Volkswagen about the future direction of business activities in Xinjiang province,” a company spokesperson told Reuters.

    “Different scenarios are being considered intensively.”

    James Gelding
    James Gelding is a Contributor at CarExpert.
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