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It was not immediately clear how many vehicles or what models would be affected by the problems, which are related to the direct shift gearbox transmission, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said in a statement on its website.
The official Xinhua news agency quoted Zhang Yuanping, a spokesman for the adminsistration, as saying AQSIQ would force Volkswagen to implement a recall if the company did not carry out what Xinhua called its "legal obligations".
Volkswagen officials in China could not be reached for comment.
The urging of a recall came as Europe's biggest carmaker said Thursday it planned to open seven more factories in China.
"In the coming years, we will build at least 10 new factories, seven of those in China alone," VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn told reporters as the company announced record net profit.
From 2016, VW expects to churn out up to 300,000 vehicles per year in these Chinese factories, taking advantage of the world's fastest growing car market.