Volkswagen AG has recalled 2.6 million vehicles over defects risking lighting failures, transmission malfunctions and fuel line leaks. Investigations by Volkswagen safety officials in China and Southeast Asia found that the power supply of 7-speed dual-clutch gearboxes in its vehicles were susceptible to malfunctioning if synthetic gearbox oil had been used, the company said, sometimes causing vehicle transmissions to fail.
Volkswagen, Europe’s largest carmaker, acknowledged that up to 1.6 million vehicles worldwide could be affected and said that changing the gearbox lubricant to mineral oil is an effective preventative countermeasure. Owners can get a free oil exchange at their local car shops. At least 18 Volkswagen models were made with the suspect DQ200 gearboxes, including versions of company’s popular Golf, Passat, Polo, Beetle and Audi marques. Of the affected vehicles, 640,000 are in China, according to a concurrent announcement from the nation’s Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, which claimed credit for identifying the defect. Vehicles currently in production or available for sale were not found to be vulnerable, according to the company.
The company has made expanding into China a priority amid flat demand for autos in Europe, opening up two new Chinese production facilities since September. That followed a high-profile run-in with AQSIQ in March in which the agency threatened to order a recall over separate gearbox issues if the company did not conduct one itself. Volkswagen soon recalled more than 380,000 vehicles without further explanation. But the incident earned the company an unflattering profile in an annual state-run television program highlighting consumer abuses.
Separately, Volkswagen recalled 800,000 Tiguan model compact sport utility vehicles built between 2008 and 2011 after reports that fuses protecting their exterior vehicle lights overheated following prolonged exposure to high air humidity, rapid temperature changes or vibrations. The defect caused certain exterior lights to shut down, the company said. Drivers would be immediately informed of any lighting malfunction on their instrument clusters, and says the problem can be fixed in “a few minutes” by replacing the fuse with one with a tougher surface coating.
The company also recalled 239,000 Amarok pickup trucks equipped with a 2.0 TDI engine for potential fuel line leaks from a pipe within the engine compartment. The company will pay to install a chafe protector at the pipe’s points of weakness.
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