Daimler Recalls More Than 200,000 Mercedes-Benz Vehicles for Airbag Issue

Laguna Hills, CA – Dec. 24, 2018 – Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (MBUSA) is recalling certain 2018 Cabriolet, Coupe, 4Matic, Plug-In Hybrid and AMG vehicles equipped with Audio 20 head units and automatic child seat recognition due to issues with passenger side airbag protection. The potential number of units affected is 104,663.

The Defect

According to the NHTSA Recall Safety Report, Daimler AG, the manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, has determined that certain C-Class and GLC vehicles (205 and 253 platforms) which have been equipped with Audio 20 head units and automatic child seat recognition, could have a potential safety risk.

Due to a signal logic error, the status of the passenger side airbags may display incorrectly in the center console, resulting in the user failing to be informed correctly about the actual activation status of the passenger side airbags. A potential false passenger classification could increase the risk of injury for the passenger in case of a crash, and with an incorrect activation status shown, the user will not be warned to correct the situation for maximum safety.

If the passenger air bag is incorrectly displayed as ‘ON’ when it is not, both the driver and the front seat passenger may be unaware that the air bag will not deploy in the event of a crash, increasing their risk of injury. While there is a chance that the customer may be made aware of the issue by an incorrect display of the passenger airbag status (such as both on and off lights glowing), in other cases the customer will not receive an advance warning due to the nature of issue (the incorrect light glowing).

Timeline of Events

In late February 2018, DAG launched initial investigations based on an isolated field report which described a condition in which both the airbag off and on light were displayed at the same time. In March 2018, a second vehicle showed similar symptoms in the field, and was requested by DAG for further analysis. By late April 2018, these analyses indicated that there was a potential signal logic error between the seat mat, the head unit, and the display in the center console on the second vehicle. In May 2018, subsequent analyses were begun in an attempt to identify a possible root cause for the error.

In June and July 2018, analyses results pointed to a potential timing issue of the head unit. In August 2018, DAG and the supplier performed further testing, and the potential for both lights to be displayed at the same time, and also an incorrect light to be displayed, was confirmed. In September 2018, the potential consequences of an incorrect display of the passenger airbag status were analyzed, and in October 2018, a plant action was launched to rework first, all affected vehicles within reach of the plant at that time, and second, to rework potentially affected vehicles in the field as they were identified. In November 2018, DAG determined that the possibility of a potential safety risk existing could not be definitively ruled out and issued the recall. A change of the head unit software ensured that this issue could no longer occur from October 12, 2018, onwards.

The Solution

MBUSA will notify owners, and dealers will update the audio head unit software, free of charge. All involved vehicles remain covered under the new vehicle warranty. The recall is expected to begin January 2, 2019. Owners may contact MBUSA customer service at 1-800-367-6372. Owners may also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153). The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 18V-838.

Sean ReyesDaimler Recalls More Than 200,000 Mercedes-Benz Vehicles for Airbag Issue