Volkswagen Recalling ID.4 Over Software Issues

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Volkswagen is recalling over 80,000 ID.4 electric vehicles, from the 2021-2023 model years, over concerns that interior screens may turn off without warning. While not really much of an issue on older cars, this is a colossal problem for newer models that have integrated touchscreen technology as essential for vehicle controls.

Fortunately, documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that the issue is limited to specific activities. The report references issues with the rear-view camera display and the speedometer. However, we’ve seen customer complaints in the past about ID.4 screens going totally blank, meaning a host of vehicle features are no longer on the table due to only being accessible via the central infotainment screen.

Regardless, even losing the rear-view camera display is enough to put the model out of compliance with federal safety standards and forcing a recall. VW has attributed numerous issues associated with its all-electric products to software issues and claims that the ID.4 recall only affects a limited number of models because later models already have the updated software installed.

Volkswagen commitment to EVs has been quite staunch since it was penalized for what happened in 2015. Your opinions on whether or not Volkswagen’s “Dieselgate” emissions cheating was totally unwarranted or simply the result of a regulatory landscape that was effectively impossible for automakers to adhere to may vary. But it’s inarguable that the resulting punishment that pushed it toward all-electric vehicles has not gone swimmingly for the brand, with the ID.4 being particularly troublesome.

Based on the MEB platform and assumed to be the global electric model seeing highest production volumes, the ID.4 has been creating issues for VW since before it launched. The crossover was repeatedly delayed and (along with the ID.3) foreshadowed something that has since become a trend for ID-badged vehicles.

Software issues have been a recurring problem for owners of VW products, with the ID models seeing the worst of it. Buggy infotainment systems are a common complaint on the forums and our own testing showed that the UX proved itself to be rather slow. The ID.4 has likewise been under criticism in the U.S. before due to power losses and doors that could open unexpectedly — both of which were attributed to bad software.

It’s almost like making vehicles overwhelmingly reliant on software was a terrible idea. But the ID.4 has also seen recalls for leaky cabins, faulty wiring, and even a sunshade that was considered a fire risk.

The current problems confronting the ID.4 are also said to be software related. However, it doesn’t sound like it’s something the brand can solve via over-the-air updates. Instead, Volkswagen has said it would begin notifying owners by July 12th so they can have the vehicles taken in and repaired by certified technicians free of charge. According to the NHTSA, about 80,000 units are under recall in the United States. Another 8,000 are expected to be recalled in Canada. But only a small percentage of the whole are assumed to be at any real risk of the defect.

[Image: Volkswagen Group]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 21 comments
  • JPWhite JPWhite on May 29, 2024

    FYI the doors opening unexpectedly is a hardware issue. Software may also be implicated but my understanding is that moisture could get past faulty seals and trigger a door opening event.

    I just had the door handles replaced as a result of the recall.

  • The Comedian The Comedian on May 29, 2024

    My owned-for-just-13-months 2022 GTI had the same problem (similar UX OS).

    It was still broken after it was repaired under a recall.

    One of the several reasons I sold it back to the dealer. Not officially lemon-lawed, but I didn’t lose much on that one - Other than a headache.

  • SCE to AUX What a farce.Besides, "patriotism" has been redefined a hundred different ways in the last 20+ years. Disagree with one of them, and you're a traitor.And for starters, Jeep is a Stellantis brand with its HQ in the Netherlands.
  • MaintenanceCosts I'm definitely seeing more dealer-level discounts than I did a year ago, but not a lot of lower MSRPs.
  • MaintenanceCosts Some people are fooled by sticking little flag badges on stuff, I guess.
  • Bkojote I'm proud to drive my Jeep, an American car that was made in Mexico and engineered in Italy for Brazil by a French-Italian company discarded by the Germans and now headquartered in the Netherlands.Sure my Renegade is a pile, but it's the same brand that made the XJ Cherokee! And that's as American as they come, as it was financed and engineered by the French whose colors are also red white and blue, and who could forget the Wrangler, which is proudly assembled in Ohio by a Korean firm they subcontracted to.
  • Paul Alexander Pretty cool that WalMart, the driving force behind consumer products all being Made-In-China and the destruction of Main Street USA, is considered patriotic.