Volkswagen cannot seem to get away from software issues on its newer vehicles. This problem botched the launch of numerous models, including the Mk8 Golf, and seems to have returned now that every single example of the car is being recalled in Europe.
Drivers have been reporting gauge clusters displaying incorrect data, infotainment systems going offline, keys failing, and advanced driving aids that are perpetually on the fritz. The latter issue has also resulted in Golfs engaging in some erratic behavior, like erroneously triggering their own forward collision-warning sensors. This has left more than a few drivers complaining about cars stopping randomly in traffic as the automatic emergency braking system came alive.
Since I don’t speak fluent German, you’ll have to settle for the broader strokes. But the gist of the matter is that these VWs are boasting a lot of problems related to the software the automaker has been trying to fix since before the Mk8 Golf launched in December of 2019.
Volkswagen had to delay the model so it could address software issues ahead of it going on the market. Considering the manufacturer was framing the new Golf as technologically superior to its predecessors and a taste of things to come, that was undoubtedly the smart play. However, the model still landed on the market in less than optimal shape, forcing VW to issue post-launch software updates. The first of these took place early in 2021 and were designed to address infotainment glitches and non-functional backup cameras on roughly 56,000 cars.
According to Der Spiegel, it was insufficient in addressing the problem as consumer complaints continued to mount. The manufacture now plans on recalling 220,000 units in Germany alone, with another 150,000 units lacking over-the-air updates located across the whole of Europe.
“The company emphasized that it was not a recall ordered by the Federal Motor Transport Authority, but rather ‘a voluntary service campaign to improve and optimize the multimedia system.’ The action has already started. All owners should be written to and invited by the responsible service partners in the spring.” the outlet explained in its native German. “Newly produced Golf 8s are also said to be equipped with more powerful hardware.”
It also said Auto Motor und Sport was the first outlet to learn of the recall, which provided some additional context. Owners aren’t just worried that their cars are terrible to drive today but that the numerous issues will negatively impact residual values. This could lead to problems with leased vehicles as well, though the publication noted that the actual number of vehicles impacted by software problems was relatively small. Details were also provided pertaining to what the latest software push would be addressing (translated from German):
According to the report by Auto Motor und Sport, the focus of the revised software is on frequently used applications such as navigation and voice control. By removing superfluous communication channels and interfaces, the so-called base load of the system is reduced by around 20 percent, according to VW. As a result, the system starts faster and works more smooth and stable.
The complete upgrade will benefit all newly produced Golfs [starting] from the end of this year, the software improvements will also be given to existing vehicles via updates. Since VW does not offer an over-the-air update for vehicles built before week 48 in 2020, around 150,000 registered Golf 8s have to go to the workshop across Europe.
While Volkswagen already opted to remove the standard Golf from our market, imported GTIs and Golf Rs from the 2022 model year are indeed Mk8s. If you own one, you’re probably well acquainted with their wonky touchscreen interface. But you might want to double check that you’re frustrations are actually the result of poor interior design (hint to manufacturers: People still want buttons and knobs) and not the same software issues that have been troubling Europeans.
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