German automaker Volkswagen has admitted it had borrowed some automobiles from a Chinese partner to display at the Vietnam Motor Show (VMS) 2019, after one of the cars on display was found to have a navigation app containing a map with the illicit ‘nine-dash line.’
The Vietnam Motor Show 2019, the 15th edition of the annual event, took place at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center (SECC) in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City from October 23 to 27, attracting more than 206,000 visitors.
This year’s VMS was joined by 15 international automobile brands including Audi, Ford, Jaguar, Honda, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, VinFast, Volkswagen, and Volvo.
During the five-day event, a photo surfaced on the Internet showing the ‘nine-dash line’ depicted on a map used in the default navigation app of a Volkswagen car on display.
The ‘nine-dash line’ is an arbitrary demarcation line used on Chinese maps to illustrate Beijing’s illegal and unilaterally declared claims to vast expanses of the East Vietnam Sea, including large swathes of Vietnam’s Continental Shelf.
Volkswagen Vietnam has taken responsibility for the “error,” a company representative told on Monday.
According to the representative, the company borrowed two Touareg cars from a Chinese partner for the motor show in Ho Chi Minh City as the same model from Europe had run out of stock.
The firm admitted it had discovered the ‘nine-dash line’ map in the vehicles’ default navigation app before the motor show began, and had blocked access to the app before putting the cars on display.
However, a visitor to the VMS was somehow able to open the map and took photos of it, the representative explained.
A leader from the VMS organization board said it was not the organizers’ responsibility to inspect every vehicle on display at the event.
According to the leader, the motor show’s organizers are only accountable for how the event was run.
Volkswagen Vietnam is taking steps to return the two Touareg cars to the Chinese partner, according to the company’s representative.
Earlier this month, Kylin-GX668, a Vietnamese company in the northern city of Hai Phong which distributes automobiles of different Chinese manufacturers, was also found selling cars whose navigation app contains the illegal map.