September 1, 2021
Welcome back to “The Recall Notice.” Before we jump into this month’s software-related recall, let’s do a quick recap of last month’s feature. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a recall for a rearview camera fault in Lamborghini Huracan vehicles. Although this defect affected less than 3,000 vehicles, the impacts on such an elite brand were more than just financial.
This month we will be looking at a recall for another luxury brand. On June 23, 2021, the NHTSA issued a recall for a fault in the power electronics system of Porsche Taycans from model years 2020 and 2021. Owner notification for this recall was set to occur on or before the 27th of August.
NHTSA Campaign Number: 21V486000
OEM: Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
Components: Power Electronics
Estimated Vehicles Affected: 10,373
Remedy: Free software update at dealership
Estimated Cost to OEM: $3.1M to $5.18M
NHTSA Recall 21V486 was issued after months of investigations into a potential issue with Taycan power electronics and engine control systems. In March 2021, Porsche began offering a comprehensive software update to Taycan owners with vehicles from model years 2020 and 2021. Owners were encouraged to bring their cars to their local dealerships to receive the update free of charge. Shortly afterward the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) began receiving complaints regarding a loss of power while the vehicle was in use.
In response, the NHTSA opened a preliminary investigation on May 17, 2021. Upon a review of warranty claims and field reports, Porsche discovered an increasing number of reports related to this issue. The cause was a software fault in the Pulse-control inverter. Upon receiving a false error message, the software was triggering a complete shutdown of the powertrain and related systems.
Some drivers reported having received no warning message on the instrument panel before a sudden and complete loss of power. This type of fault significantly increases the risk of a traffic collision, especially when traveling at higher speeds.
Over 10,000 units are impacted by NHTSA recall 21V486. Since all 2020/2021 Porsche Taycan vehicles come with a hybrid electric powertrain, the recall affects all model trims. This includes the Porsche Taycan standard trim, the Taycan 4s, Taycan Turbo, Turbo S, 4S Cross Turismo, Turbo Cross Turismo, and Turbo S Cross Turismo.
With any luxury brand, a recall that requires a trip to the dealer has more than just a monetary impact on the manufacturer. When customers pay for quality, they expect to get it. Having to take time out of their busy lives to repeatedly take their car in for software updates is not the quality experience they paid for. These occurrences inevitably impact the buyer’s view of brand reliability.
Porsche introduced the new Taycan as having over-the-air (OTA) update capabilities. However, other than Porsche Connect—an optional connected vehicle subscription add-on—the OTA abilities of the Taycan are limited. Larger updates, such as those required to satisfy NHTSA recall 21V486, can only happen at a dealership.
This issue is not uncommon for OEMs electing to build OTA vs buying a pre-existing solution. In an attempt to keep up with the competition, manufacturers are rushing to release their own OTA solutions. Unfortunately, many of these solutions have not undergone the same level of rigorous testing as an out-of-the-box solution. As a result, OEMs are discovering software bugs and limitations after implementation, having to backtrack, and losing money in the process.
With a solution like Sibros, the bugs have already been addressed. The Sibros Deep Connected Platform (DCP) is designed for seamless and immediate integration. It is fully equipped to manage vehicle-wide updates, without a visit to the dealership. In addition, the OEM can monitor ECU health and interactions to proactively detect issues. With Sibros DCP in place, the months of research and investigation involved in NHTSA recall 21V486 could have easily been avoided.
A recall that involves a trip to the dealership always costs the OEM time and money. Staff and resources must be redirected to address and resolve the issue. This includes diagnostics, installation, and verification of the update, which ends up running between $300 and $500 per vehicle. For a recall of this size, the manufacturer is looking at a revenue loss of $3.1 to $5.18 million. Recalls also leave OEMs vulnerable to financial losses related to injury-related lawsuits. That’s why the early detection systems offered with an effective OTA solution, like Sibros, are crucial.
Although drivers receive a free software update, they must take time away from work and life to drive the vehicle to the dealer. They also have to cope with any stress associated with the knowledge that their car could spontaneously turn off while in motion.
In addition to the customer and the OEM, recalls financially impact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA has a recall enforcement budget of around $19.5 million. This goes to investigating potential consumer complaints, determining if a recall is necessary, and enforcing recalls once issued. Along with proactively identifying issues, an OTA system eases the software-related recall rollout process and tracks vehicles that have already received updates.
Sibros offers an effective and efficient OTA software solution that saves all parties involved time, money, and headache. When researching and developing OTA in-house you risk falling a step behind the competition in the process. Sibros Deep Connected Platform is ready for fleetwide integration and deployment. Breeze through software-related recalls with Sibros, contact us today to set up a demonstration.