Volkswagen recalls over 384,000 cars in China: watchdog

Volkswagen AG , which sells more cars in China than any other foreign firm, will recall 384,181 vehicles there to fix a long-standing gearbox problem, China's quality watchdog said on Wednesday.

The recall, which will start on April 2, covers some Passat, Sagitar, Golf, Touran and other models made at Volkswagen's China ventures as well as some imported models, including an unspecified number of Audi A3 cars built between February 2010 and June 2011, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China said in a statement on its website.

Volkswagen confirmed the recall in an emailed statement.

The recall comes after the German automaker was named in state-run China Central Television's annual investigative special on corporate malpractice aired on Friday.

The TV show, one of the most widely watched in China, said the direct shift gearbox (DSG) transmission, a long-standing issue for Volkswagen, was causing cars to speed up or slow down during driving.

"In isolated cases, an electronic malfunction in the control unit or a lack of oil pressure inside the gearbox mechatronics may result in a power interruption," Volkswagen said in its statement.

"The most important vehicle systems, such as steering and braking, along with other relevant systems will not be affected", it said.

VW, which makes cars in China in partnership with SAIC Motor Corp Ltd <600104.SS> and FAW Group, sold 2.81 million cars in the country last year. It plans to almost double production capacity in the country to 4 million in the next five years.

(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada; Additional reporting by Fang Yan in BEIJING; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)