Volkswagen is expected to recall approximately 679,000 cars in the US and well as 110,000 in Canada according to documents published with NHTSA on Thursday. The reason for the recall is a defect in the shift lever that could pose a rollaway risk. Volkswagen spokesperson Mark Gillies has said there have been no reported injuries or accidents related to the recall.
The vehicles that will be affected include the 2015-2016 and 2018-2019 Volkswagen Golf, the 2015-2019 Golf GTI, the 2012-2019 Beetle and Beetle Convertible, the 2017-2019 Golf SportWagen and the 2011-2018 Jetta. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, only vehicles with an automatic transmission, manual handbrake, and keyless entry have been affected by the issue. More than 541,376 Jettas are projected to be recalled.
According to the NHTSA documents, silicate can build up on the shift lever microswitch. The components may then categorize this buildup as an open micro switch, which indicates the vehicle is in park. This would allow drivers to remove the key from the ignition without the car actually being in park. The buildup of silicate represents a false positive, which could result in the vehicles rolling away, leading to a potential crash and injury.
Volkswagen says that some models may emit warning sounds or error messages while in drive, a signal that the microswitch has failed. In order to fix the flaw, the German automaker will deactivate the microswitch found at the gear lever and replace it with an additional switch outside of the gear lever housing and another circuit board to correct the issue.
Given that many of the vehicles may be outside of the factory warranty period, Volkswagen will also offer a refund program for owners who fixed the problem on their own and paid out of pocket. Volkswagen is expected to begin notifying owners of the recall sometime after October 11.
The recall is the latest setback for Volkswagen. The automaker is still struggling to come back in the United States and Canada from its embarrassing emissions scandal, which has caused sales to lag. Volkswagen sold roughly 354,064 vehicles in the US in 2018, compared to 438,134 in 2012.