Aston Martin produces some of the world's most highly engineered cars, and its reputation stands on the quality of those vehicles. The news this week, therefore, that the company has to recall the majority of vehicles it has made since 2007 will come as a shock, writes Brian Balmer, industry principal for performance materials at research firm Frost & Sullivan.

The recall is due to a faulty accelerator pedal arm, many of which have broken. Tests by Aston Martin have revealed the source of the problem: rather than being made from PA 6 supplied by DuPont, as the company had specified, the part was made from counterfeit plastic.

This highlights one of the main challenges of dealing with a globalised automotive industry. Aston Martin, which assembles its vehicles in the UK but is now part-owned by Kuwaiti investors, appointed a company to supply these parts; that supplier is in Hong Kong. That supplier in turn appointed a moulder in mainland China to mould the part. That moulder bought the polymer from a local Chinese supplier that supposedly [supplied] PA 6 from DuPont.

The tests undertaken by Aston Martin showed that this material was not from DuPont as the packaging suggested; in fact it wasn't even PA 6, it was PA 6,6.

Understandably, Aston Martin has decided to bring the moulding of the part back to the UK as soon as possible.

The market for polyamides in the Chinese automotive industry is dominated by the main global manufacturers, although there is also a market for locally produced material. DuPont is in fact the market leader, with a market share of around 28%. Local Chinese manufacturers have a combined share of around 10% of the market.

The need to be able to supply the same grade of material to OEMs across all regions of the world is a critical success factor for polymer companies supplying the automotive industry, so any move in part production from China to the UK will be easily accommodated by DuPont.

Frost & Sullivan's latest research shows that the market for compounded polyamide engineering plastic in the Chinese automotive industry was worth more than US$1bn in 2013. In volume terms, China represents around 28% of global demand. This is slightly ahead of the share taken by China of global car manufacturing, suggesting that there is a market for export of Chinese moulded parts to OEMs in other regions.

This issue of counterfeiting has affected major brands in other markets too, so it is up to those brands to remain vigilant, and to continue thinking of new ways to stay one step ahead to protect their brand image.