2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
Volkswagen late last week issued a service program covering several Volkswagen and Audi models equipped with Direct Shift Gearboxes (DSG).
In a release, Volkswagen Group of America reported that some owners of vehicles with the DSG transmission have reported “performance issues, due to a faulty component in some of the units.”
The program affects about 43,000 Volkswagens and 10,300 Audis in all, including 2007-2009 models of the Volkswagen Eos, GTI, Jetta, R32, and SportWagen, plus the Audi A3 and TT.
This is unrelated, VW says, to a voluntary recall issued August 20, covering a faulty temperature sensor and affecting a smaller group of vehicles (13,500 in all, mainly 2009 models). Although the recall issue could cause the transmission to shift to neutral while being driven, VW didn’t indicate such serious behavior for the broader mechanical faults covered by the service issue.
Volkswagen’s DSG will eventually appear across the spectrum, from low cost hatches to premium sedans
On July 17, NHTSA’s ODI (Office of Defects Evaluation) had released a Failure Report Summary on the issue, citing 12 vehicle owner complaints regarding a malfunction that can “cause the vehicle to lose motive power suddenly and without warning,” along with 15 complaints alleging safety concerns over “harsh shifting (e.g., lunging, surging, jumping, jerky) in drive or reverse.” A cursory scan of VW enthusiast forums, such as those at VWvortex, indicate that the drivability complaints have been an ongoing issue.
Volkswagen of America president and CEO Stefan Jacoby said in the release that the automaker is working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on the matter, and that they are “focused on taking all the appropriate actions to ensure the complete satisfaction of our existing customers.”
The company will provide the parts replacement or repair free of charge to the owner, and it will reimburse those who have already made a repair due to the issue. VW is extending its powertrain warranty to ten years or 100,000 miles—transferable to subsequent owners—on affected vehicles.
That’s a smart move. Volkswagen is just looking on an upswing in the U.S. and is recovering from dealership and service issues. Just earlier this spring, Jacoby told TheCarConnection.com that the automaker is quickly changing, with “very transparent, open communication” with its dealerships and more direct company support to service technicians.
It’s also important because of VW’s long-term investment in DSG. While other automakers either focus on next-generation seven- or eight-speed hydraulic automatic transmissions or belt- or chain-driven CVT units, Volkswagen is broadening its use of DSG transmissions, which incorporate a mechanical layout that’s much like that of two manual transmissions side by side (also called twin-clutch gearboxes and used by several other automakers), with much faster shifts than a conventional automatic or manual. VW last year introduced a new seven-speed DSG in its European-market Golf, and DSG availability is being expanded within Audi’s model line. Audi installed a CVT on some of its front-wheel-drive A4 models earlier this decade, but response (from the car, and from buyers) was tepid.
2009 Audi TT
TheCarConnection.com’s editors rate the DSG driving experience high no matter which vehicle it’s in. “Gear changes are startlingly quick and seamless, far better than any traditional automatic could muster,” we said about the gearbox in the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, and in our Bottom Line covering the 2009 Audi TT and TTS we noted that its “snappy shifts in aggressive driving, smooth ones in relaxed cruising, and very quick downshifts.”
Owners who have experienced the issues should contact the 800-444-8982 (Volkswagen) or the 800-253-2834 (Audi).
Cruise the High Gear Media network! TheCarConnection for experts reviews of every new vehicle; MotorAuthority for and performance-car news, reviews, and spy shots; GreenCarReports for news and reviews of the latest earth-friendly cars; CelebsandCars to see how the stars roll.