Herndon, Va. – Feb. 28, 2019 – Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain 2015 Passat, 2015-2016 Eos, 2015-2017 CC, 2016-2017 TT Roadster, TT Coupe, 2017 Audi R8 Coupe, and R8 Spyder vehicles. This is part of a vast and ongoing scheduled recall of vehicles with Takata air bags. The potential number of units affected is 119,394.
According to the NHTSA Safety Report filed Jan. 11, the non-desiccated ammonium nitrate used as a propellant in the air bag inflators in the passenger side airbags of these vehicles poses a risk at some point in the future for all vehicles thus equipped.
If the driver’s frontal air bag deploys, the defective inflator could potentially rupture. The degrading ammonium nitrate present in the propellant wafers may explode under excessive internal pressure in the event of a crash which causes deployment of the driver’s frontal air bag.
In very rare cases, the explosion might mean that metal fragments could pass through the air bag cushion material and go flying into the interior of the vehicle from the passenger front side, potentially striking the vehicle occupants and conceivably resulting in serious injury or death.
This recall is part of a massive worldwide recall of vehicles with Takata airbags that is being conducted in waves starting with the vehicles that are at highest risk of propellant degradation (older vehicles and vehicles in Zones 1, 2, and 3.) All test ruptures reported by Takata to date have occurred on inflators returned from regions subject to high absolute humidity.
Timeline of Events
The filing was made as required per the NHTSA Coordinated Remedy Order. The date of determination for Audi was Jan. 2, and the date of determination for Volkswagen was Jan. 9, 2019. Volkswagen will cooperate with NHTSA to prioritize and stagger vehicle repairs by joining NHTSA’s coordinated remedy program. The remedy components for this defect are not ammonium-nitrate based accelerant air bag inflators.
According to Consumer Reports, the investigation began in 2008, after reports of exploding air bags and flying metal shrapnel surfaced. The cause turned out to be degraded propellant wafers in the air bag inflators manufactured by Takata, which were installed in millions of cars between 2002 and 2015. Vehicles made by 19 different automakers have been recalled in what may turn out to be the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.
The recall is expected to begin in March 2019. Volkswagen will notify owners by mail, and be instructed to take their vehicle to an authorized Audi dealer. Dealers will replace the driver’s frontal air bag inflator with an alternative part, free of charge. Audi and Volkswagen are excluding reimbursement for costs associated with replacement of air bag inflators. The Audi recalled component description is 4S0.880.201, and the Volkswagen’s part numbers are 3C8.880.201 and 561.880.201
Volkswagen owners may contact customer service at 1-800-893-5298; Audi owners should call 1-800-253-2834. The number for this recall is 69S8 (Audi) and 69Y5 (Volkswagen). Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov. The NHTSA Campaign Number for these recalls is 19V014000.