A bugged safety feature means that hundreds of thousands of Mercedes-Benz cars have to be recalled. Is yours on the list?
Mercedes-Benz has issued a recall for 1,292,258 cars in the United States (and is preparing to take action for vehicles in other countries too) following the discovery of a critical flaw in the cars’ eCall feature. When working normally, this safety function should alert emergency services to an accident and send the location of the affected vehicle; however, the fault means that the wrong location may be sent instead.
Describing the effects of the software problem, a spokeswoman for Mercedes said: “In rare cases, this could mean that in the event of an accident-related temporary drop in a vehicle’s voltage, the communication module might not communicate the correct current position when an emergency call is made/triggered. All other functions of the automatic and manual emergency call function remain fully operational”.
The BBC reports that affected car models in the US include the following, produced between 2016 and 2021:
- CLA-Class, GLA-Class, GLE-Class, GLS-Class, SLC-Class
- A-Class, GT-Class, C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, CLS-Class
- SL-Class, B-Class, GLB-Class, GLC-Class, G-Class
The scale of the problem in the European market is not yet known, but we expect an announcement from the marque shortly that will outline any over-the-air or in-person updates that will be applied to ensures the vehicles’ safety.
The eCall feature was launched in 2012, and has been included as standard in all Mercedes cars produced since 2014. After an accident, an emergency call can be made manually (by pressing the SOS button) or automatically if the airbags or seatbelt tensioners have been activated. The call goes to a Mercedes response centre, who forward it to the emergency services if help is needed along with crucial information such as GPS position, direction of travel, time of the emergency call and the preferred language. It can be a genuine lifesaver when functioning as it should, so we hope that this problem can be patched as soon as possible.