Maserati Issues Recall Over Software Glitch

Englewood Cliffs, N.J. – March 22, 2017 – Maserati North America has recalled more than 3,000 vehicles with faulty software. The recall impacts Levante sport utility vehicles produced between July and December 2016, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The car maker estimates that 100 percent of the models named in the action include defective software.

The Defect

Affected models are equipped with damaged engine software that may shift the vehicles into neutral or cut engine operations without notice. This normally occurs when the vehicles are traveling 2 miles per hour or slower, such as in heavy, bumper-to-bumper traffic. This fault increases the likelihood of crash, especially when road conditions improve, causing trailing drivers to accelerate rapidly. Even so, no injuries have occurred as a result of the software defect.

Timeline of Events

On Oct. 18, 2016, Maserati North America received a complaint from one driver who claimed his vehicle shifted into neutral without his assistance. The car maker immediately opened an investigation into the report and called for testing in an attempt to replicate and evaluate the possible issue. These trials concluded Nov. 9. Engineers were indeed able to replicate the issue, ordering follow-up diagnostics to better understand the underlying cause. These tests indicated that the engine software was to blame.

On Dec. 9, developers at the car company announced that they had coded and validated a patch to address the glitch. Over the next five days, engineers performed emissions tests on vehicles with the updated software to ensure that exhaust levels remained in step with federal regulations. The new software had no impact on emissions and was approved for use.

Maserati North America issued an initial recall on December 11, 2016. However, field tests revealed that the problem still persisted, despite the patch. Between Dec. 14 and Jan. 20, 2017, engineers and programmers replicated the issue on site and developed a newer iteration of the engine software that worked. The car maker integrated the new software into its production lines on Feb. 21. It issued a second recall three days later. Dealers made aware of the problem March 17.

The Solution

The car manufacturer has ordered dealers to update the engine software in all impacted models, free of charge, according to documents filed with the NHTSA. Owners should receive notification March 31, 2017.

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