Volkswagen has issued a recall of over 2.6 million cars, about a third of them in China, to fix a variety of problems, a blow to the group as it strives to overtake Toyota and General Motors as the world’s biggest carmaker.
The recall involves vehicles from the German group’s five largest brands by volume, including luxury Audis and core VW passenger cars, and is one of the largest in its history.
“Carmakers riding on strong growth like VW must be terribly careful that they don’t pay dearly for that growth by conceding losses on quality,” said Stefan Bratzel, head of the Center of Automotive Management, a private think-tank near Cologne.
VW, which has twelve brands and has boosted deliveries by half over the past six years to 9.3 million cars, said on Thursday it was recalling 800,000 of its Tiguan compact sport-utility vehicle due to the risk of a partial malfunctioning of lights at models assembled between early 2008 and mid-2011.
VW also said it was calling on 1.6 million customers globally to have their cars checked that they are using mineral oil rather than synthetic oil to avoid gearbox-related electronic flaws. China, the world’s largest car market, will be particularly hard hit.
“We sincerely apologize to our customers for any inconvenience caused,” VW Group China said. “We will do our utmost to serve our customers efficiently and in the shortest time possible.”
VW’s Chinese unit said 640,309 vehicles would be recalled from November 25 over the oil checks, while the country’s quality watchdog had already announced on Wednesday that 207,778 Tiguans would be pulled off its roads.
China’s quality watchdog said the recalls would include VW’s imported cars, such as Scirocco, Golf Variant, Golf Cabriolet and the Beetle, as well as those made at its two Chinese joint ventures with FAW and SAIC Motor Corp.