When Volvo, the company that prides itself on safety of its vehicles, recalls its cars, the enormity of the problem or the severity of the issue doesn’t matter. Nonetheless, the issue that is forcing the Swedish carmaker to issue a recall of cars across the world isn’t a minor one.
Volvo is recalling almost 60,000 cars across the world over a software glitch that can possibly stall your engine and shut down the electrical system while the vehicle is in motion.
Swedish automaker Volvo is recalling 59,000 cars across 40 countries over defective software. The glitch, albeit a mere software issue, is potentially very dangerous. It can temporarily shut down the engine of a moving vehicle, which needless to say could be catastrophic. Incidentally, the company has assured there have been no reports of the glitch causing an accident or injuring any driver or passengers. Moreover, Volvo insists that the glitch may not be even noticeable if motorists are traveling at a reasonable speed, since the electrical system as well as the engine would restart immediately.
Volvo Group’s spokesperson Stefan Elfstrom confirmed that the recall is being initiated, but added that none of the cars that are being recalled have so far faced any accidents. He even noted that motorists driving at speed would “barely notice” the shutdown, but continued that “the experience isn’t a nice one” for affected customers, reported Sky News.
What is the software glitch? The problem was first noticed by a few drivers of brand new Volvos. They reported the engine would suddenly cut out. They experienced a momentary loss of steering and braking. While Elfstrom officially acknowledged the glitch, he added that all the vehicles would restart immediately.
It is important to note that for the glitch to have negligible detrimental effect, the vehicles had to be at speed. The company did not confirm what would happen if the affected vehicles were travelling at slow or very high speeds.
Volvo confirmed that the company has begun sending out letters directly to the owners who have bought the cars that might have the software glitch. Interestingly, the glitch doesn’t mandate a return to the Volvo factory line. In the letter, Volvo asks the owners to take their vehicles to their nearest Volvo dealership for a quick-fix. The company assures the owners that the fix is a very simple one to implement, and needn’t take a mechanic or Volvo representative more than 30 minutes. As with any recall, there won’t be any fees to implement.
Which Volvo vehicles are affected? The software fault is restricted to five-cylinder diesels from the 60 and 70 series constructed from the middle of 2015, reported BBC. Specifically, the S60, V60, XC60, V70, and XC70 series vehicles are the ones who have the software glitch. These are diesel models manufactured in the second half of 2015 and have been launched as 2016 models, reported The Guardian.
The company hasn’t revealed what exactly is the root problem that caused the software glitch, but confirmed a simple software patch that can be easily applied has been developed. Though the affected Volvo vehicles have been sold in about 40 markets, half of the models that would have to make a trip to the dealership are in Sweden. A large number of the affected vehicles are in UK and Germany.
Carmakers have been increasingly hit with recalls owing to the faulty airbags that were sold to them by Japanese company Takata Corporation. The company’s products has cost big companies like Toyota, Volkswagen, and others millions of dollars so far, and the severity of the problem appears to be growing. The Volvo’s software glitch looks quite pale in comparison to the recalls that the other companies have had to undertake for driver and passenger safety.
[Photo by Jeff Kowalsky/Getty Images]