published Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

VW recalling 160,000 Chattanooga-made Passats

  • photo
    The 2012 VW Passat is pictued at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI.
    Photo by Dan Henry.
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• General Motors - 1.62 million cars worldwide and 1.3 million in the U.S. affecting 2005-07 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2007 Pontiac G5, 2003-07 Saturn Ion, 2006-07 Chevrolet HHR, and the 2006-07 Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky; ignition switch problem.

• Honda - 886,000 Odyssey minivans from 2005-10 model years; the cover of the fuel strainer at the top of the gas tank could crack over time and lead to a fuel leak, increasing the risk of a fire.

• Volkswagen - 160,000 Passat sedans from 2012 and 2013 model years; a low-beam headlight bulb problem could lead to reduced visibility.

• Chrysler - 18,092 Fiat 500L cars in the U.S. from 2014; drivers may not be able to shift out of park.

In the Chattanooga-made Passat's largest safety recall, Volkswagen says about 160,000 of the sedans for model years 2012 and 2013 may have a low-beam headlight bulb issue that could lead to reduced visibility.

The voluntary recall, the second for the Tennessee-assembled car since its production started in 2011, impacts about 150,000 Passats in the U.S. and another 10,000 in Canada, according to the German automaker.

VW said it's possible in instances where the car hood is closed roughly or dropped from a certain height that the resulting vibration can cause a headlight bulb to lose electrical contact.

"Failing illumination of the low-beam bulb may lead to reduced visibility of the vehicle," the company said.

However, there have been no crashes or injuries linked to the recall, according to VW, and a warning in the car's instrument cluster will immediately alert the driver if there's a problem.

Company spokesman Mark Gillies said the company won't disclose how much the fixes will cost VW, though there is no charge to vehicle owners. He said the automaker will contact owners who may have the issue. VW already has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the company said.

Volkswagen dealers will install an improved bulb fitting, the company said. Additionally, the hood bumpers will be inspected and, if necessary, adjusted or replaced to prevent the hood from contacting the headlight assembly if the hood is dropped during closing.

In 2012, VW recalled 153 model year 2012 Passats which were manufactured from Jan. 18, 2011 through June 1, 2011, which were some of the earliest-assembled of the cars. VW said they were built with a diesel fuel filter element that may have not sealed correctly.

It said that leaking fuel in the presence of an ignition source could lead to a fire. VW spokesman Corey Proffitt said at the time that there had been no reports of a fire because of the problem. That defect was found by a supplier, he said.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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