As reported in a variety of news venues (be they automotive-centric or part of the mainstream media) the Volkswagen Group’s string of perceived fails-of-late is being reinforced through the recent announcement that their Audi division would be recalling up to 1.16 million vehicles, in the possession of faulty coolant pumps.
The vehicles in question are easily identifiable by their engine configuration, specifically a 2.0-liter turbocharged TFSI. This means that the recall includes 2013-2017 models of the Audi A5 and Q5, 2013-2016 models of the A4 sedan and Allroad, as well as 2012-2015 models of the A6. While the at-risk vehicles are spread out globally, a whopping 342,000 of them are right here in the United States.
Granted, this is the second phrase of resolving an issue which had previously been announced just shy of a year-and-and-a-half ago. The first phase had been more reactive in nature, with Audi serving up a partial recall that allowed them to update the computing system with a software patch, forcing a shutdown if there was any imminent risk of short-circuit. Such an event would be caused by the presence of debris inside of the pump or an influx of moisture, (both of which the malfunctioning pumps were susceptible to). While there were no actual reports of such an event occurring, the fact that the risk existed on such a large scale is rather damning of an automaker as aspirational as Audi.
The disappointing factor in the implementation of Phase 2 comes, not only in the extended timeframe since the initial announcement but also in the fact that no firm timeline has been established for the availability of the replacement coolant systems. While the willingness to take responsibility is commendable, the follow-through feels lacking. This is only compounded by the timing, considering that VW is (i) still in the midst of resolving legal action levied against them for the ‘Diesel-Gate’ emissions scandal and (ii) imposed recent recalls on braking systems and airbag issues.
But part of us can’t help but wonder when this string of issues for VW and Audi will cease. While it wasn’t exclusive to VW/Audi, consider the Takata Air Bag recall of 2017 that affected 1 in 4 U.S. Vehicles.
That particular issue was only one example, but while Audi was not solely responsible for the issue or associated concern, bad press is bad press…and they can’t seem to get away from it.
It’s simply hard to put your trust in a relatively aspirational brand like Audi when there seems to be a constant string of recall-inducing issues rearing their ugly head. Judgment aside, we hope that all affected Audi owners hold the automaker accountable, if for no other reason than the expectation of “getting what you paid for.” There shouldn’t be a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card for an issue of this magnitude, especially when you consider the Audi price tag.