By on December 16, 2021

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.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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32 Comments on “Report: Every New VW Golf Has Been Recalled in Germany...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Thankfully, they don’t use the term “German Engineering” any more.

    Betcha this recall eventually extends to other models, because you don’t deploy just Golf-specific code.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep. The ID4 has the same kind of haptic/touchscreen uber alles nonsense.

    • 0 avatar

      German Software Engineering to be correct. But German rockets could not hit London either. BTW I run SoftMaker Office on my laptop and did not have any issues yet. It is considerably cheaper than MS Office. I bought the latest Pro version for about $40 on sale.

      • 0 avatar

        You do say some extremely stupid things at times. Here’s a map of V2 strikes on London:

        There’s plenty of pictures on the web of the damage these things caused.

        My father was completing his medical residency in London in ’44 and ’45. No doubt if he were still alive, he’d give you a good slap in the chops for your offensive remark. I heard enough stories about the results of V1 and V2 attacks from him as I grew up, safe in the Canadian countryside by then.

        • 0 avatar

          V2 was not a precision-guided weapon. They just launched them in some direction in the hope to hit something. V2 was highly ineffective weapon. They would be better off bombing London from air. Germans should instead focus on A-bomb where they failed miserably.

          • 0 avatar

            That would have been nice but by the time it would have come online it would not have made any difference. What could they have done, strap in their one low yield atomic weapon into one of the Me 264 prototypes and dropped it on London, Moscow, or New York? So what?

  • avatar

    So frustrating. I really want to like VW but they don’t make it easy. Reading this pretty much seals my decision to avoid the new Golf lineup and look outside of VW for my next car purchase.

    My 2017 Touareg with the VR6 hasn’t been problem free either, most annoyingly, misfiring brutally on cold starts to the point where if I don’t turn it off immediately , the CEL lights up. Even under extended warranty, VW basically says too bad, so sad. No solution for a fix. It’s too bad because it is a great driving vehicle. Still have my Jetta 2.Slow in the family as well, thankfully providing 120 k miles of mostly trouble free service so far.

  • avatar

    Haptic feedback! Touch driven sliders! Touchscreens! It’s all the future, and we call it CUE!!!

    (Somewhere in the RenCen, there’s a Cadillac executive laughing his butt off.)

    When I bought my GLI in the spring, part of me wondered if I should hold off until the new GTI came out. Between the inventory shortages and this kind of nonsense, I’m glad I didn’t wait.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s incredible to see VW get so much right and then punch themselves in the crotch over and over.

      If they offered tartan seats in the GLI, I’m not sure I could refuse.

      Then again, I was hoping that BMW’s chip shortage would cause them to make older cars again. One can dream. Wasn’t that a Yanni album? Wait, Dare to Dream.

      • 0 avatar

        This. Who has had smashing success with controls like this? Honda tried it and totally pi**ed off its customers – and that was just the volume control. And CUE was a infamous bust for Cadillac. It’s like Volkswagen saw that and said “hold my beer.”

        Sometimes tech for tech’s sake ain’t the best idea.

        Gotta say, I’m not missing the GTI sport seats much.

  • avatar

    • Germany makes the best motor vehicles in the world.
    • VW is the best German automaker.
    • VW is the largest automaker in the world by Revenue, so obviously its products are the best in the world.
    • Enthusiasts who choose VW vehicles are the best enthusiasts.

    and finally,
    • VW is the largest automaker in the world by Revenue, so I don’t have to be nice to them.

    Life Lesson: Learn to code. It will take months and years for anyone to realize you were incompetent.

  • avatar

    I’m shocked. Just shocked!
    No one saw this coming. /s

  • avatar

    VW are using their customers to beta test their software so they don’t have to.

  • avatar

    Meet the new VW, same as the old VW.

  • avatar

    But their panel gaps are exquisite!

    I kid.

    I’m thinking the issue with VW is that traditionally mechanical and production engineering were most important. But these days software engineering is a much bigger part of what it takes to build a car. I can only assume there is some legacy resistance to properly resourcing the software engineering team.

    • 0 avatar

      Given the traditional VW hierarchy of engine people at top, electronic people at the bottom, I can only imagine how the software people are regarded.

      Diess’ attitude when asked about the initial software delay was that they’ll throw more coders at it, and I’m sure that’s exactly what they’ve done.

  • avatar
    Good ole dayz

    I wonder if the software coders were hired under some “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” mandate?

    • 0 avatar

      “I wonder if the software coders were hired under some “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” mandate?”

      Yes, they probably needed some fat white guys with red hats to represent that part of our population and then things went south.

    • 0 avatar

      More likely the software development was handed off to an outfit that hired lower cost programmers to write the code.

      It’s not unusual for projects to be broken up into segments, with different teams working on each module. The trouble begins when trying to cobble the segmented coding together.

      Some Hollywood studios used to film movies that way, with individual scenes filmed out of sequence, with different directors. The movie scenes were assembled in order by editors who knew the plot.

      Someone at VW charged with assembling the modules didn’t know the plot.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    This is not who I want building my all electric car.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    The only reason you’re hearing about this is because government requires automakers to disclose issues and recall unsafe vehicles. It’s a good example of government working with business to benefit the people.

  • avatar

    Germans are working on the assumption that SW will never have bugs because the German engineering is a model of perfection. Germans focus more on quality & precision over delivering volume targets. They produce smaller quantities but of higher quality and at a higher price. So be ready to pay more for your next Golf.

  • avatar

    And now they’re already gonna upgrade the hardware? Imagine being an early adopter? I can’t imagine they won’t have to cave and offer these hardware upgrades to existing owners. What a clusterfarkle.

  • avatar

    I wish they were recalling them and putting in more conventional instrumentation. I love the new GTI and its 240hp, but the all-touchscreen / haptic controls for everything is an abortion. It’s fine for a phone where there isn’t room for buttons and dials, but a car doesn’t have these constraints. It’s technology for technology’s sake. Who likes this garbage?

  • avatar

    It’s as if they saw all the issues with Sync and CUE from a decade ago and said “we’re German so it will work for us” and learned nothing from other peoples mistakes. The ID4 looks compelling and rightly priced until you see it has nearly no actual buttons, it’s just asking for problems. Don’t even get me started on the window switches and steering wheel controls that have no reason to be haptic yet are

  • avatar

    Big deal, they are requesting owners bring their car in for a software update if they can’t get it OTA. Not sure why the automotive press is getting their knickers in a knot over this story. Every car brand has has issues like this that get fixed over time…hello Ford Sync.

  • avatar

    In a way it’s a step forward. Hats off to VAGs transparency and not having to be sued into admitting and fixing the problem.

    I’m sure something like this happened to my father when the brakes on his new 2019 Subaru Forester completely failed to operate upon approaching a busy intersection. Not only did the car fail to automatically brake, the pedal sank to the floor and had no effect. No manual E-brake to reach for, he took the intersection in the oncoming lane on 2 wheels and miraculously managed to not hit anything. After coasting to a stop and restarting the car the brakes seemed to work fine. He took it the remaining few blocks home and refused to drive it again. After weeks of wrangling the dealer and Subaru claimed to find nothing wrong. Though when the car came back he said it, “felt different.” As if some internal settings or thresholds had been tweaked or reset. Guessing this sort of thing happens a bunch and gets quietly fixed in the next mass software update without ever admitting or notifying the general public there was an issue.

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