Although this latest recall adds to the list of airbag-related defects, it does not appear to be connected to the massive recall from Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata, which has affected 11 automakers and an estimated 50 million vehicles worldwide.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on Friday that Volkswagen has issued a recall involving over 420,000 vehicles from years 2010-2014 sold in the U.S. among eight models due to a faulty component associated with airbag deployment. In a press release, the NHTSA described the problem as:
The steering wheel clock spring could become contaminated with long hair or long fibers which may cause a displacement of the internal guide loops. When the guide loops are dragged out of position, they may apply tension to the internal flat cable and cause it to tear. Should the cable tear, the electrical connection to the driver’s front airbag may be lost, causing the airbag monitoring indicator light to illuminate. In a crash that warrants a driver front airbag deployment, the airbag may not deploy, leading to a risk of driver injury.
The maker of the defective steering wheel clock springs is German-based manufacturer Valeo Interior Controls, a subsidiary of the larger Valeo auto parts empire. The company makes components for automakers in 29 countries worldwide, including a U.S. facility in Troy, Michigan.
According to the NHTSA, Volkswagen is currently working on a solution to the defect. Company spokesperson Peter Thul indicated that Volkswagen is investigating to see if the recall affects vehicles shipped to other markets as well. Volkswagen has also told its customers that they will see a warning light for the airbag if it susceptible to the defect. No deaths or injuries have been reported to date stemming from the recall. According to The Car Connection, the models affected are:
- 2010-2014 Volkswagen CC
- 2010-2013 Volkswagen Eos
- 2011-2014 Volkswagen Golf
- 2011-2014 Volkswagen GTI
- 2010-2013 Volkswagen Jetta
- 2011-2013 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen
- 2010-2014 Volkswagen Passat
- 2010-2014 Volkswagen Tiguan
Although this latest recall adds to the list of airbag-related defects, it does not appear to be connected to the massive recall from Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata, which has affected 11 automakers and an estimated 50 million vehicles worldwide. That recall involves over-aggressive inflation of airbags upon deployment suspected of being attributed to excess humidity and moisture, sending dangerous shrapnel into the driver’s cabin. The Takata defect has been linked to at least eight deaths and over 100 injuries worldwide. In total, the NHTSA issued recalls on over 60 million vehicles in 2014, and early estimates indicate that last-year’s record total will be exceeded in 2015, in light of the Takata recall and several new recalls from Fiat-Chrysler and General Motors.
Bloomberg Business – Naomi Kresge
The Car Connection –Richard Read
USA Today –Chris Woodyard