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Honda to resume sales of China flagship CR-V

Approval of recall plan pulls sport utility vehicle out of limbo

Honda has struggled in China since sales of its popular SUV were suspended. (Photo by Yu Nakamura)

CHONGQING -- Honda Motor will resume sales of its CR-V sport utility vehicle in China after local authorities approved a revised recall plan.

Recalls will begin May 22 as the automaker prepares to restart sales of the flagship CR-Vs. About 130,000 units produced by Chinese venture Dongfeng Honda Automobile between February 2017 and February 2018 are subject to the recall. The vehicles had been flagged for concerns over engine issues that could be triggered by a combination of factors including low temperatures.

Honda was forced to suspend CR-V sales after Chinese authorities rejected its initial recall plan in February.

China's quality-control watchdog, which announced the decision Wednesday, likely gave the green light after Honda managed to prove that the replaced parts and upgraded engine control unit software could withstand various temperature conditions. The Japanese automaker is also likely to recall other cars equipped with the same engine as the CR-V.

The company's Chinese sales are largely fueled by the CR-V and its Accord sedan. Honda has struggled as a result of suspended CR-V sales, with new-car sales in China falling below year-earlier figures for the third straight month in April.

Considering the potential hit to the automaker's brand image, whether sales bounce back will be closely watched. Honda's recall issue has garnered attention online.

"We hope to continue to supply products and services that are reliable for our customers," Dongfeng Honda Automobile said in a statement released Wednesday.

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