Volkswagen Australia says technical faults with some of its diesel engines and automatic cars are “completely unrelated” to the death of a Volkswagen Golf driver in Melbourne, whose car was struck from behind by a truck in February 2011.
The car involved in that incident had a petrol engine and a manual transmission. Reports at the time said the car had slowed suddenly to 20km/h while in the fast lane. The truck driver reported not seeing any brake lights.
Volkswagen Australia spokesman Karl Gehling told News Limited: “We’re disappointed some media have ignored the details of the case and chosen to link completely unrelated issues. The examples are not relevant.”
Volkswagen Australia has told News Limited that some early model diesel cars are being called back to dealerships across Australia to have their engine’s injectors replaced to prevent the vehicles from slowing suddenly or shifting into “limp home mode”.
The self-contained safety measure is common on most new cars with engines controlled by computer software, and are designed to prompt drivers to take their car to a dealership while not leaving them stranded.
Three years ago Volkswagen Australia called back about 8000 “twin-charge” petrol engines fitted to the Golf because rough idling would prevent the car from driving off.
But the engine in the car at the centre of the investigation -- a high performance Golf GTI -- does not have the type of petrol engine at the centre of the earlier recall. It was also equipped with a manual transmission.
Overseas, Volkswagen has recalled almost 500,000 cars equipped with its unique “DSG” automatic gearbox because of quality concerns and uneven acceleration and delayed gear changes, rather than sudden deceleration.
However the issues have been brought into the spotlight following a Coroner’s inquest this week into the death the Volkswagen Golf driver in Melbourne two years ago. The coroner is investigating what caused the crash and led to her death and will release the findings in July.
Another Volkswagen Australia spokesman, Kurt McGuiness, told media earlier the company currently has no plans for any new recalls. “Volkswagen conducts vehicle recalls in conjunction with the relevant federal government bodies. At this time we do not plan to announce a recall,” he said.
“Rapid deceleration is not an issue widely observed or reported with any Volkswagen vehicles. However, should any of our customers have cause for concern with their Volkswagen vehicle, we urge them to contact our customer care team.”
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling