Volkswagen Group of America has taken the unusual step of ordering a stop sale on its imported diesel car line-up due to a problem with a high-pressure fuel line that can come loose and potential cause a fire.
The move impacts a variety of models including the Jetta TDI and Audi A3 TDI produced from May 2009 until a month ago when the defect was discovered. The maker will need make repairs on vehicles now on dealer lots. Meanwhile, it plans to issue a recall for those cars already in owner hands, a move that will affect about 160,000 Volkswagen vehicles and another 7,000 Audis.
The recall is a potential black eye for a company that has put significant emphasis on its diesel technology as a way to differentiate itself from the competition. Demand for the high-mileage powertrains has been strong and growing – reaching 30% with some Volkswagen models, according to company data.
VW has also been struggling to shed an image of poor quality. It has lagged in many consumer studies over the past decade but has more recently begun to bring its quality problems under control. Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, has listed quality as perhaps the single biggest issue VW must deal with if it hopes to meet a goal of doubling sales by 2018.