- Ken Elkins
- Senior Staff Writer-Charlotte Business Journal
The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission is recalling a hybrid lawn mower and power generator that was assembled in Lincoln County by a Chinese company.
The Raven, which was pulled from Lowe’s Home Improvement stores in May, was cited for 82 instances of lawnmower blades detaching. In one case, a bystander’s legs were cut and bruised, the agency says.
Three consumers reported that the blades started without warning. In other cases, the Raven moved without warning and fuel leaked from the vehicle, according to the CPSC.
The Raven is made by Denver Global Products of Lincoln County.
In a February 2012 economic development announcement attended by then-N.C. Gov.Bev Perdue, Denver Global’s new owner, Chongqing RATO Power Co. Ltd. of China, said it planned to hire as many as 1,000 employees to bring production of the Raven and other products to the United States.
The Raven went on sale at Lowe’s Cos. Inc. (NYSE:LOW) stores in January 2012. Sales of the vehicles were halted last May after they developed problems that included stalling during grass cutting.
The CPSC estimates that 11,000 of the Ravens were sold at an average cost of about $3,000.
The recall makes it illegal to sell the mowers.
The CPSC recall is one of a series of controversies for RATO in the area. Roger Leon, who sold Denver Global and the Raven idea to RATO, left the company in May over “differing views and opinions” between Leon and the Chinese owners.
Leon has since been named CEO of a U.S. startup of another Chinese company, Jiangsu Jiangdong Group, which plans to bring heavy-equipment manufacturing to Lincoln County.
Ken Elkins covers manufacturing, international business and economic development for the Charlotte Business Journal.