Montvale, N.J. – Jan. 10, 2017 – Mercedes-Benz USA has just announced a series of recalls related to assembly problems. In one instance, an improperly fitted connection threatens to make brake pedals less effective over time. In another, faulty axle bolts risk fracture, possibly causing vehicles to lose control during operation.
These issues affect a range of vehicles and will be addressed early in the year.
Description of Defects
The first defect affects model year 2014 CLA250 vehicles that are equipped with gasoline engines and were manufactured between Dec. 14, 2012 and April 24, 2013. According to documents compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these vehicles contain fittings that connect vacuum lines to brake boosters. These may be poorly fitted and can break during use. If that happens, the brake booster would no longer exist in a vacuum, causing brake force to steadily decrease over time.
Eventually, as drivers use the brake pedal, brake force would diminish to nothing, severely increasing the risk of control loss and crashes.
The second defect affects the following seven vehicles models:
- The model year 2015 GL350 4MATIC BLUETEC with diesel power train.
- The model year 2015 GL450 4MATIC with gas power train.
- The model year 2015 GL550 4MATIC with gas power train.
- The model year 2015 and 2016 GL63 AMG 4MATIC with gas power train.
- The model year 2015 ML250 BLUETEC with diesel power train.
- The model year 2015 ML350 with gas power train.
- The model year 2015 ML350 4MATIC with gas power train.
All of these vehicle models were manufactured between Sept. 29, 2014 and March 27, 2015.
According to NHTSA documents, they all have improperly assembled front and/or rear axle bolts, which risk fracturing during operation. This could leave the vehicles in unstable condition and increase the risk of a serious crash.
Timeline of Events
- 2014: Mercedes-Benz manufacturer Daimler AG initially received field reports of customers experiencing sudden, unexplained brake failure. The manufacturer conducted an initial investigation to determine the source of the problem. It identified the broken connection piece of the brake booster vacuum line in affected vehicles. Months later, Daimler AG had analyzed the break, as well as the production process, but could not determine a cause of the problem.
- 2015: The company initiated a Six Sigma Black Belt project late in the year to make another attempt at discovering a cause. This time, the search revealed that there were certain material deficiencies along specific portions of the assembly line, which lead to the defect. Specifically, the application of high levels of force during the assembly process led to weakened components.
- December 2016: Daimler AG determined that a safety risk existed as a result of the defect.
Axle Bolt Defect
- April 2016: Two vehicles with weak axle carrier bolts were reported in the Chinese market. Daimler AG launched an investigation and determined that the problem was not the result of an initial production error, but rather that it occurred during a rework. Further review of other reworks led to the identification of all other affected models.
- December 2016: Daimler AG determined that a serious safety risk existed and recommended a recall.
Owners will be notified of all defects and asked to bring their vehicles to authorized dealers, who will repair or replace the affected components at no cost to the owner.