SEOUL, South Korea, 10th October, 2016 (WAM) — Samsung’s crisis with its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone hit a new low on Monday as the company confirmed that it has made changes to its production of the phones “to ensure consumer safety”.
According to AP, the move follows five different reports that newly released Galaxy Note 7 phones, which had been offered as replacements for the re-called fire-prone phones, have also overheated or caught fire. In one incident, passengers were evacuated from a Southwest Airlines flight in Kentucky this week after a replacement Note 7 started smoldering and making “popping noises” soon after its owner boarded the plane.
In a statement and in a regulatory filing, Samsung Electronics said it is “temporarily adjusting” the Galaxy Note 7 production schedule and production volume to “ensure quality and safety matters”. The company added that it will issue an update when more details are available, but fell short of confirming or denying earlier media reports that it had halted production.
Earlier in the day, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency was first to report that Note 7 production had been suspended.
The move came after decisions by U.S. phone retailers AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile to stop giving new Note 7 replacement smartphones to consumers, and letting people return their replacement phones for different devices.
Samsung and the U.S. authorities are investigating reports of the new Note 7 replacement smartphone catching fire, but the move poses fresh trouble for Samsung because it had promised that its new Note 7 with a green battery icon is safe.
The reports of replacement phones catching fire raise doubts whether the battery is the only problem in the fire-prone smartphone as Samsung had initially said. When it issued a global recall on September 2nd, Samsung blamed the batteries supplied by one of its two battery suppliers and assured consumers that other parts of the smartphones were fine, said AP.
The latest problem with the Note 7 will frustrate Samsung’s attempts to repair its battered reputation and could result in severe financial penalties, with some analysts predicting that the worst recall crisis in the firm’s history could cost it up to US$5bn in lost revenues. The company sold 76m smartphones in the second quarter of 2016.