Aston Martin recalls sports cars with faulty software

 

Warwick, U.K. – June 21, 2017 – Aston Martin Lagonda of North America has recalled more than 300 sports cars with faulty software, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

The campaign affects 2011-2012 Aston Martin V8 Vantage sports cars manufactured between Nov. 25, 2010 and Aug. 16, 2012. The car maker estimates that approximately 2 percent of the vehicles mentioned in the recall contain the defective software.

The Defect

Vehicles named in the campaign could be equipped with engine control and transmission software that is incompatible automatic clutch settings. This can cause the transmission to miss gearchanges in some throttle positions.

The clutch can also slip and overheat, prompting the vehicle to switch to clutch protection mode. In this instance, the Malfunction Indicator Light will illuminate and gearchanges will become abrupt. The defect is detrimental to overall driveability, putting drivers and passengers at risk. However, Aston Martin has not received reports of any collisions or injuries connected to software issue.

Timeline of Events

In 2012, Aston Martin released an update for engine control and transmission software in the V8 Vantage. After installing the updated software, technicians were supposed to delete existing automatic clutch settings and input new configurations to comport with the update. However, this did not happen.

More than five years later, in April 2017, the car manufacturer received multiple reports from V8 Vantage owners who were experiencing driveability issues. Aston Martin launched immediately launched an investigation to determine the root cause. Engineering teams were able to replicate the issues in internal tests and quickly discovered the existing automatic clutch settings were incompatible with the updated software.

Aston Martin’s Critical Concerns Review Group recommended the Recall Committee take up the matter June 15, 2017. The group met that same day and decided to conduct a voluntary recall campaign.

Dealers received notification of the action June 23, according to the NHTSA.

The Solution

Aston Martin has ordered dealers to reinstall the engine control and transmission software on vehicles named in the recall and configure automatic clutch settings to match the updated systems. Dealers are also required to replace clutch systems in V8 Vantage models with transmission damage stemming from the incompatibility issue. Technicians are to perform these repairs free of charge. Aston Martin is expected to notify owners between July 7 and Aug. 7.

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