All New VW Golfs Recalled In Europe

It's all software related, and some 220,000 cars are going back to the workshop in Germany alone

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If I were an American VW Golf owner, I’d be keeping an eye on this one. All that and more in The Morning Shift for December 16, 2021.

1st Gear: That’s 220,000 Cars Across Germany, Not Counting The Rest Of Europe

At issue is laggy, glitchy software that affects MK8 Golf infotainment and keys apparently, as Auto Motor und Sport reports:

From the start of sales in December 2019 to November 2021, around 220,000 Golf 8s were delivered in Germany alone. From the beginning there were significant software problems that continue to this day, as current research by auto motor und sport shows. As readers report, car keys are not recognized, assistance systems react incorrectly or fail, emergency braking is initiated without an emergency, the app and the car show different mileage, the traffic sign recognition detects signs that are not there, the entertainment system sometimes fails completely . Owners fear significant losses in value of the first Golf 8 production, which could lead to problems with leased vehicles with the residual values. The first software update took place in early 2021 the worst problems in 56,000 vehicles eliminated, with the new update VW wants to fix all construction sites.


AMuS is a little deferential to VW here, so let’s take the word from Der Spiegel:

Due to persistent software problems with the Golf 8, Volkswagen calls all vehicles of the new model to the workshops. A major software update should be installed there in order to improve applications such as navigation and voice control, said a company spokesman.

The eighth Golf generation has been on the market since December 2019. Since then, around 220,000 vehicles have been sold in Germany - which their owners are now supposed to drive to the workshop. The update will be deployed across Europe. VW did not initially provide any information on how many cars are affected in total.


So far, there’s no word of this hitting the U.S., but I’d be keeping my eye out.

2nd Gear: Rivian Plans $5 Billion Georgia Factory Bigger Than Kia

Kia is currently the biggest automaker in Georgia, but Rivian may be overtaking it, if it follows through with a new plan, as the Associated Press reports:

Electric vehicle maker Rivian Automotive will announce Thursday that it’s building a $5 billion battery and assembly plant east of Atlanta that’s projected to employ 7,500 workers, sources briefed on the decision told the Associated Press.


The plant could grow to as many as 10,000 workers, sources said, which would make it among the largest auto assembly complexes in the United States, rivaled by behemoths such as the 11,000-worker BMW complex in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Ford Motor Co.’s 8,600-worker plant in Louisville, Kentucky

Rivian will be the largest industrial announcement in Georgia history, surpassing the 4,400-worker Kia complex that opened in West Point in 2009. Georgia has had a number of failed auto plant recruitments. Rivian will give Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp another point to bolster his claims that he has been an excellent steward of Georgia’s economy, even as faces Republican and Democratic challengers when he runs for re-election next year.


It’s nice to see an American company committing to American production, but there is something shady under the surface here. (It’s that Rivian is dodging unionization.) From AP:

Founder and CEO Robert Scaringe told Bloomberg Television in November that the ability to recruit good workers was the most important factor in the decision. Rivian’s existing plant in Normal, Illinois, like most auto plants that have opened in recent decades, is not unionized.


3rd Gear: Canoo Ends Overseas Production Deal, Shifts To Oklahoma, Arkansas

Meanwhile, EV box-on-wheels startup Canoo is ending its deal for contract production with VDL Nedcar in the Netherlands and saying it’s going to double down on its American plans as well. From Reuters:

The Arkansas-based company said the shift from using VDL Nedcar overseas to relying on the plants it is building in northwest Arkansas and Pryor, Oklahoma, was made to reduce supply-chain vulnerabilities and overseas shipping costs, and increase speed to market for its vehicles.

“The initiatives announced today are another step in executing our strategy of reducing risk and increasing certainty,” Chief Executive Tony Aquila said in a statement. “We have concluded that building in America is better aligned with our mission.”

Canoo said starting production in Oklahoma remains on track for late 2023, but it also now expects to begin building electric vehicles in Arkansas next year, instead of using the VDL Nedcar plant.


4th Gear: Audi Recalls Q5s For Water Leaking Into Computer Under Back Seats

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to put things. Which window in your house offers the best light for a plant? Which section of a bookshelf should be nonfiction and which should be memoirs? Where you should put a control computer in a car? Maybe store it under the back seats? Not much going on down there.


Except for water, I guess. From The Detroit News:

Volkswagen’s Audi luxury brand is recalling 289,000 SUVs in the U.S. because water can get into a control computer under the back seats.

The recall covers certain 2021 and 2022 Q5 and SQ5 Sportback models and some 2018 through 2022 Q5 and SQ5 models.

The company says in documents posted by U.S. safety regulators that water can get to the computer through liquid spilled onto the back seat, or from a leaky body seam. That can cause the computer to shut down and reduce engine power, increasing the risk of a crash.


5th Gear: Stellantis Claims Jeep Plant Air Is Now Safe

Stellantis is claiming that it’s been measuring the air around its Jeep plant in Detroit and that it’s fine now, thank you all for complaining. I can’t say that I exactly trust it, given that it was dragged into this mess from neighbors’ complaints, but here we are. From The Detroit News:

Data from the air monitoring system installed at Jeep’s new assembly plant in Detroit show emissions of potentially harmful chemicals are below federal and state standards, said the brand’s parent company, which says it will share data with the public quarterly.

“The data demonstrates that the air-quality area is safe,” Al Johnston with Stellantis’ corporate environmental programs said during a virtual community meeting on Wednesday.

Stellantis NV will share the data collected in its quarterly “Stellantis4Detroit” newsletter. Previously, the information had been shared quarterly with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, but a resident needed to make a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain that information from the agency.


I would really not want to live next to an auto plant.

Reverse: This Is A Grim One:


Included is this description of the crash itself:

One hundred twenty-eight people in total were on the two planes. Eleven-year-old passenger Stephen Baltz described the scene: “It looked like a picture out of a fairy book. Then all of a sudden there was an explosion. The plane started to fall and people started to scream. I held on to my seat and then the plane crashed.” Baltz initially survived the crash, but died from his injuries the following afternoon. All of the other people on the planes also died.


Neutral: How Are You?

Just as I am wrapping up my latest Project Bike Hell, I have found an absolutely decrepit bike in need of saving. I do not have room for this many orphans.