VW orders sales halt for Golf, GTI over steering flaw

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WASHINGTON -- Volkswagen has ordered U.S. and Canadian dealers to not sell about 800 units of its new Golf and GTI hatchbacks because a mistake in assembly could cause steering problems.

The front stabilizer links in the affected vehicles were installed with too little torque, according to a stop-sale order that VW sent to dealers today.

The stabilizer links can come loose over time and make “considerable noise,” says the notice, which was obtained by Automotive News. If the links detach entirely, it becomes more difficult to turn the steering wheel -- which could cause a crash. 

According to the notice, the problem affects a total of 2,001 vehicles in the United States and 446 vehicles in Canada, including 705 units in U.S. dealer inventories and 108 vehicles in Canadian dealer inventories.

Mark Gillies, a VW spokesman, said in an e-mail that some vehicles were unaffected by the flaw and can still be sold. He said VW has notified U.S. regulators of the defect, which suggests the company will recall cars that have been sold.

“As far as we are aware, no customers have experienced the problem,” Gillies wrote.

News of the stop-sale order was reported earlier by automotive site Jalopnik.

The hiccup will slow early sales of the GTI, which went on sale in the United States in May, and the Golf, which goes on sale in August. The acclaimed compact cars have been on sale in Europe for more than a year. VW added Puebla, Mexico, to the list of assembly sites in early 2014 to better serve North American markets.

You can reach Gabe Nelson at gnelson@crain.com.

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