Mercedes recalls vehicles with defective air bags


Jacksonville, Fla. – Jan. 31, 2018 – Mercedes-Benz U.S.A has recalled approximately 10 vehicles believed to be equipped with defective occupant classification systems, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects multiple models produced between Oct. 25, 2016 and Dec. 22, 2016, including:

  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT and GT-S coupes.
  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT and GT-C Roadsters.

The automaker suspects just 10 percent of the vehicles involved in the recall actually contain defective components.

The Defect

Models included in the action may include defective passenger-side occupant classification features that incorrectly activate or deactivate air bag deployment. This issue is the result of a design flaw that impedes communication between the seat and the occupant detection sensors. Additionally, a software error exacerbates the problem. The defect poses a serious hazard to passengers, as it could leave them vulnerable to impact during a collision or cause them injury due to the sudden and unexpected deployment of safety features. That said, Mercedes and its parent company Daimler AG have yet to receive reports connecting the defect to accidents or injuries.

Timeline of Events

In August 2016, Mercedes-Benz engineers conducted internal vehicle validation tests and discovered that the passenger-side occupant classification components were prone to malfunction. DAG immediately launched an investigation in response to these findings. The inquiry revealed numerous seat cushion design flaws, which directly affected the performance of the the occupant classification system.

DAG initiated additional tests in September. These uncovered new insights into the defective, including the fact that the geometry of the seat cover and the occupant classification module was affecting performance. In October, the automotive conglomerate developed and tested a new seat cushion design. The refreshed model proved effective. In November the new seat cushion model went into production. One month later, additional tests revealed that a software error was exacerbating the defect.

In January 2017, DAG engineers rolled out updated software, which was officially introduced to the production line the following month. Vehicles that had been assembled but not delivered received the updated seat cushions and software, along with those awaiting sale at dealerships. However, in October DAG discovered that not all of the affected models were updated as required earlier in the year. In November, quality assurance teams assessed the extent of the problem. One month later, the company decided that a serious safety risk was present and decided to conduct a voluntary safety recall.

The Solution

DAG has directed dealers to install the redesigned seat cushions and software in the vehicles named in the action. Mercedes-Benz service personnel will perform this work free of charge, according to a recall acknowledgement document submitted to the NHTSA. DAG intends to notify dealers and owners this month. Individuals affected by this recall who need more immediate assistance can contact Mercedes-Benz customer service at (877) 496-3691. They can also reach out the NHTSA directly using its toll-free Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

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