It’s been an interesting few days for Volkswagen in the media, something which started on Friday with this article in the various Fairfax outlets:

http://theage.drive.com.au/motor-news/death-prompts-vw-owners-to-speak-out-20130530-2nexi.html

 

The article centres on the tragic death of Melissa Ryan in 2011 when she was rear ended by a B-Double  on the Monash Freeway while driving her VW.

To quote the article:

“The truck driver and Ms Ryan’s family believe her car dramatically and inexplicably slowed before the crash.”

 

The article then goes on to talk about failures of the DSG (or VW’s high tech dual clutch automatic for those not up on the lingo) and the diesel injector failures both of which are commonly reported problems within our own community.

The article drew a huge response with almost 500 comments by the end of the day with many people reporting to have experienced similar issues with their own vehicles.

After such a big outcry there was a statement released by Volkswagen Group Australia, which pointed out one interesting point:

 

The vehicle at the centre of the inquest is equipped with a petrol engine and a manual transmission. Neither of the customers interviewed for the story has a vehicle fitted with a DSG transmission either.”

Read the full statement here:  http://volkswagenaustralia.com.au/responsetofairfax/

 

So it appears the article may have glazed over a few of the facts to make a good story (like that the vehicle at the centre of the article couldn’t have had either of those issues being both petrol powered and manual), but it still remains that a number of customers are experiencing ongoing issues seemingly without any permanent resolution from VW.  Australians are also feeling left out with nearly half a million cars recalled in China and Japan over issues with the DSG and the US also doing a couple of “minor recalls related to the DSG”.

 

There have been a number of follow up articles, all essentially telling the same story of random shutdowns and issues.

Drivers report sudden loss of power after inquest into woman’s death

Failure to fix issues worse than damage of recall

‘It was quite bizarre. It was moving. I just couldn’t accelerate’

 

Issues with new cars aren’t something new.  These things can and will happen with all makes, be it a random electrical fault, a manufacturing glitch, a faulty part or a software problem.  Your warranty means it’s up to the manufacturer to acknowledge and repair things as they show up.  In some cases they will even offer an extended warranty on parts know to fail.

 

While the number of people effected by the VW faults seems to be growing we need to remember that they still represent a minority of VW owners, albeit a very pissed off and vocal minority.  Being part of a community forum it’s worth remembering that the average, non enthusiasts,  doesn’t tend to hunt down and post on forums telling everyone how perfect their experience has been.

 

But to my key point, it’s how the manufacturer deals with the issue that makes the difference to the overall experience.  Many customers are feeling that VW playing the buck passing game and/or denied there are any problems with our vehicles.  It’s the frustration of screaming for help and feeling like you’re getting no response made worse by seeing people in other countries getting attention for what seems like a common problem.

 

So what should Volkswagen Australia do?

 

Have you been following along?  Had issues? Have your say in the forums:

http://www.vwwatercooled.com.au/forums/f40/dsg-woes-age-86315.html

 

 

On a personal note, I have had a couple of new VW’s (as well as a few old ones) and have had a couple of issues that were fixed under warranty.  One was a faulty part in the turbo diesel system which just failed one day and put the car into limp mode (not while driving) and I have to say I’m glad I didn’t have to drive any distance or in any real traffic for that period.  While it runs the total lack of power makes it an interesting experience trying to pull out into traffic.  In any case the local dealer fit me in and had it back up and running within 48 hours.  The other warranty fix was a part making noise reported at a service and replaced that day.

6 Responses to “DSG, Diesel Injectors and VW’s Dilemma”

  1. Michelle Cranna says:

    TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE JUST HAPPENED 10 days ago – 2007 Golf GT Sport 2.0 TDI – Going along smoothly at 70-80km/h, a table-top truck right behind me on Mulgoa Road, Mulgoa,NSW. My 3 kids in the car too. Suddenly, absolutely no indication at all, the engine stopped, shut down, and I started loosing speed quickly, terrible feeling. I tapped the brake pedal to let the truck driver behind me know there was a problem (lucky I did after just reading the article in the SMH about the lady killed in Victoria) Also lucky I had somewhere to pull off the road, but another 1km along and I would have had nowhere to go. Extremely dangerous situation. I had no idea what happened, thought I must have run out of diesel, but confused because I knew I still had some in the tank. Called NRMA guy, he couldn’t do anything, then a tow truck. As night fell I was stuck there, feeling vulnerable with my 3 kids until help arrived. Cost me $180 to have the car towed to McGraths VW Liverpool, they diagnosed the injectors fault and repaired under warranty. The staff there were very nice I have to say, not their fault VW is handling this problem poorly, but they are in the firing line and copped some uncomfortable moments from my husband. Overall, very bad experience, our other car is also a 2009 VW Multivan, great car but now very worried about the VW GREMLINS.
    Pleased it turned out okay for me and my family (we didn’t get killed or injured) BUT, I say very very strongly to VW Australia – YOU MUST RECALL ALL AFFECTED VEHICLES before this incredibly dangerous scenario kills or injures anyone else. My kids and I could have been wiped out from a known fault with your product. And why on earth does the engine just shut off suddenly like that. I’ve never had any other car behave like that without warning – stupid engineering causing a potential death drap. VW is one of the biggest companies in the world, and Siemans is pretty big too, you need to take full responsibility for the products you put out there, and not just fix the problems as they arise. Check a risk assessmnt matrix i.e. frequency and consequesces = DO SOMETHING IMMEDIATELY…. Otherwise you are really just alienating your devoted and loyal customers.

  2. There’s nothing like letting the truth get in the way of a good story.

  3. I have experienced the exact same thing as Michelle.
    2007 Diesel TDI, car shut down with my 2 year old in the car and I was expecting my second child.
    Car shut down, NO WARNING, lost acceleration on the freeway, luckily, I managed to quickly access the emergency lane.
    Towed to VW and the injectors were identified as the problem. Replaced under warranty, I am now onto my third set of injectors.
    These cars are time bombs! Death traps that should be taken off the road.
    VW knows the problems, they failed to inform me in writing of an injector recall (which I stumbled across when trying to get another problem fixed).
    Surely they should be investigated for their negligence. I will never own another VW as a result.
    I have wasted a lot of money on this car for problems which VW know are very common with this model.

  4. Gary Carpenter says:

    The second generation common rail diesels (CFFB) are fitted with Bosch solenoid injectors redesigned cylinder heads and inlet manifolds minus flaps and revised egrs. VW are not mentioning this and people are assuming that current diesels are affected by the problems with the Siemens piezo injectors.
    They need to be less defensive and give out more info as to what has been an issue and what has be revised in current models to overcome the problems. This would put a lot of peoples minds at ease.

  5. Vladimir Rajcevski says:

    Passat 125 TDI 2008. I was just out on the road in front of my house, car completely died and stopped. My Luck it was 200 m from my house and no cars around. My First reaction was – what if this happened on freeway at 110

    Injectors, pump and ECU got replaced under waranty. if it is a design issue, then the concern is realy whether parts replacement will address the issue

    Vlad

  6. I am no stranger to having faults in my used cars but the way the media seem to conveniently mix up facts to mislead the public and stir up anger in the general population is disgraceful and serves no one but their readership numbers.

    In the UK I owned a mk2 Monaro which suffered from a sticky throttle body under heavy acceleration causing it to keep accelerating for a few seconds after releasing the accelerator peddle. Nothing major you may argue until the rear wheels would spin up in the wet and control was difficult and dangerous. It became a known problem with the LS2 V8 over time but there was never a recall or public notice. I just had it looked at during the next service.

    Equally VW have been very open and courteous in offering any owner a free check over, probably a good idea for any car owner in Victoria where regular roadworthy checks aren’t enforced.

    I do sympathise with those who have had an engine failure whilst in motion as it is horrible but it does seem that no engineering is immune to fault these days (although they are getting better compared to the 1980s!) I’m grateful that cars are getting much safer though!

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