Mercedes SUVs on the assembly line in Alabama.
BEIJING/FRANKFURT — Mercedes-Benz SUVs and crossovers built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, are being checked for potential problems by Shanghai customs authorities, Daimler said, as a trade dispute between the United States and China heats up.
Mercedes GLS (SUV) and GLE (crossover) models, built in the U.S. between May 4 and June 12, 2018, have a brake issue which poses a “safety risk,” according to a Chinese customs document circulating on Chinese social media.
The document said authorities in Shanghai had found the rear brakes on these vehicles to be “insufficient.” The authenticity of the documents could not be verified with Chinese authorities.
Daimler said the company had been made aware of a potential brake issue related to vehicles in China imported from the U.S.
“We are working with the relevant authorities to resolve the issue,” a spokeswoman said on Thursday. Daimler could not immediately comment on the number of vehicles affected and is seeking to resolve what it described as an “entirely technical issue.”
On Wednesday, Chinese authorities said they would impose additional tariffs of 25 percent on $16 billion worth of U.S. imports from steel products to autos, in an escalation of the trade dispute between China and the U.S.
In June, Daimler cut its 2018 profit forecast because of the trade war between China and the U.S., sparking fears of a wave of earnings downgrades in the auto industry.