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VW recalls 2.6m cars, over 44,000 in Australia

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Volkswagen is issuing recalls and advisories for about 2.6 million vehicles world-wide, including about 43,700 in Australia, for a range of three defects. The Australian vehicles include more than 16,700 Tiguan SUVs recalled for a fault that means a fuse can blow, causing one of the two vehicle light circuits to fail. About 16,000 Volkswagen Amarok utes are being recalled because of fuel pipe leaks affecting the 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine.

The remaining 11,000 cars range across various models that have VW's twin-clutch automatic DSG gearbox, in which an electrical defect could occur if synthetic gearbox oil is used," Volkswagen says..

A large proportion of the 2.6 million global recall is in China -- VW's largest market -- after a problem was found there in the same gearbox that triggered a recall earlier this year. The Chinese recall affects 750,000 Volkswagen and Audi vehicles that use the Chinesee-built DSG gearbox there.  Vehicles on the China recall list include the Volkswagen Golf, Beetle and Passat and several Audi models.

It's the second recall this year on the DSG. In June more than 25,000 Australian cars were recalled for gearbox problems after pressure from disgruntled customers. Those vehicles included the Golf hatchback, Jetta sedan, Polo hatchback, Passat sedan and wagon and the Caddy van.

Volkswagen said it is recalling 800,000 (2008-11) Tiguan SUVs and 239,000 Amaroks around the world, bringing the total number of cars affected in the three safety actions to 2.6 million.

While the number of vehicles is large, analysts estimated the cost of the repairs could be relatively small. Still, the fresh problems that have surfaced with the gearbox might further dent Volkswagen's reputation in China and strain its relations with its local venture partner, SAIC.

The gearbox only has problems in hot and humid climates, said Volkswagen spokesman Peter Heinz Thul. In warm climates, additives in the synthetic oil can damage the electronics. VW is proposing to replace the oil with a mineral oil that has been used previously without problems, Mr. Thul said.

Volkswagen issued a recall in March in China for nearly 400,000 vehicles to fix an electronic malfunction on the same DQ200 gearbox. It said the problem was resolved with a software fix.

VW officials told Chinese regulatory officials about the most recent problem earlier this week, Mr. Thul said. The automaker then agreed that a recall should be issued.

Volkswagen Australia is yet to determine the impact on local models for this latest recall, but will "ensure these recalls are conducted promptly and efficiently", according to Managing Director John White, and relevant owners will be notified by mail.

This latest recall follows the 25,928 Volkswagen vehicles recalled in June over similar issues with DSG transmissions manufacured between 2008-11, of which 40 per cent have been rectified to date and is expected to be completed next year.

Volkswagen Australia says that this progress is in line with the timeframe anticipated, and that vehicles already attended to will not be affected by this new recall as their transmission fluid will have already been replaced.

The company says concerned owners should contact their local Volkswagen dealer or can call a dedicated customer service number: 1800 504 076.

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