Auburn Hills, Mich. – July 5, 2018 – Volkswagen Group of America has recalled more than 2,500 vehicles potentially equipped with defective air bag assemblies, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects multiple models, including:
- 2003 Volkswagen EuroVan and EuroVan Camper minivans produced between July 15, 2002, and Aug. 21, 2002.
- 2003 Volkswagen EuroVan Chassis produced between July 22, 2002, and Aug. 13, 2002.
- 2003 Volkswagen Golf hatchbacks produced between Oct. 29, 20002, and Dec. 18, 2002.
- 2003 Volkswagen Jetta sedans produced between Aug. 14, 2002, and Sept. 28, 2002.
- 2003 Volkswagen Jetta Wagons produced between July 25, 2002, and Aug. 10, 2002.
- 2003 Volkswagen Passat sedans produced between June 27, 2002, and Sept. 5, 2002.
The German automaker suspects all of the models named in the recall contain the defective safety features.
Affected vehicles contain front air bag assemblies with inflators prone to humidity-driven propellant deterioration. In the event that this phenomenon occurs, the metal inflator my explode during air bag deployment, sending shrapnel flying throughout the vehicle cabin. The defect therefore poses a serious hazard to occupants. However, Volkswagen has yet to receive field reports connecting the defective air bag components to any accidents or injuries.
Timeline of Events
In November 2017, Volkswagen, in partnership with its air bag supplier, the ZF Group, launched an investigation following an apparent inflator rupture in the Chinese market. The inquiry revealed that such an event had not unfolded. However, the two companies decided to conduct further tests in house to assess the potential for inflator rupture. These analyses, which began in January 2018 and concluded in March 2018, revealed that humidity-related propellant deterioration was possible. This prompted the ZF Group to launch its own series of tests.
Soon after the vendor initiated its internal inquiry, it received word of another possible inflator rupture. The parts installed in the vehicles were from a suspect lot produced in 2002. This allowed Volkswagen and the ZF Group to narrow down the population of affected vehicles.
The Volkswagen Pre Product Safety Committee reviewed the matter May 14, 2018, and requested additional information. Following the delivery of this data, the issue was passed to the Product Safety Committee, whose members determined on June 6, 2018, that a voluntary recall campaign was necessary.
Volkswagen will direct dealers to replace the frontal air bag inflators in affected vehicles free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. The automaker intends to notify both dealers and owners of the forthcoming Aug. 12, 2018. Owners in need of assistance prior to the start of the recall can reach out to Volkswagen customer service personnel by calling (800) 893-5298. They can also connect with the NHTSA directly using the agency’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.