The three-pointed star may not guide the way after all. The illuminated Mercedes-Benz logo that can appear in the grille of the 2020 GLE Class SUV and 2020 GLS Class SUV has triggered a safety recall, the automaker revealed in paperwork made public by the NHTSA on Monday.
The recall of 12,799 SUVs stems from an incorrectly installed electrical ground. On 2020 GLE 350, 450, and 580 vehicles, as well as 2020 GLS 450 and 580 models, an optional illuminated tri-star could short the power steering unit, wiper motor, and left headlight. Losing power to any of these functions, and deactivating power steering or the left headlight or the windshield wipers, could increase the risk of the crash.
Following customer reports of a loss of electric power steering assist, Mercedes launched an investigation and concluded that the lit-up grille was a "potential contributor to the condition." Mercedes said there have been no reported crashes or injuries. An acoustic warning may be accompanied by a visual warning in the instrument cluster if an issue occurs.
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class
Mercedes' new illuminated star accessory
Other automakers have begun lighting up grilles and logos to create distinct light signatures or, more cynically, mobile brand marketing. BMW's twin kidney grille can get lit on models such as the 2020 BMW X7, and Volkswagen is rolling out the feature in its 2022 VW Taos compact crossover and ID.4 electric crossover.
Illuminated grilles are nothing new, with the 1980s Mercury Sable ushering in the last era of glowing grilles, though it had its predecessors and successors.
Mercedes-Benz will notify owners by December 8, and dealers will relocate the ground connection free of charge. Owners may contact Mercedes customer service at 1-800-367-6372 or visit the MBUSA recall site.