Software-related Recalls Are Still Plaguing the Auto IndustrySoftware-related Recalls Are Still Plaguing the Auto Industry


January 31, 2023



Min Read

Software-related Recalls Are Still Plaguing the Auto Industry

This is an external post, click the button below to view.
View Post

Happy 2023 and welcome back to The Recall Notice. In this blog series, we explore some of the latest software-related recalls and what original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are doing to address them. Last year we touched on how connected vehicle platforms could effectively address different types of recalls, including a Ferrari brake fault, a Kia airbag issue, and a forward collision avoidance system failure in certain Toyota C-HR vehicles

We also launched our interactive recalls dashboard which draws data directly from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and breaks it into two categories: software-related and non-software-related recalls. Sort by date, OEM, and recall cause, for a straightforward look at how recalls are impacting each manufacturer and the industry. Now let's take a look at our first recall of 2023. 

BMW Power Interruption

NHTSA Campaign Number: 22V944000

OEM: BMW of North America, LLC

Components: Electrical System 

Estimated Vehicles Affected: 14, 086

Remedy: Free Software Update at the Dealership

Estimated Cost to OEM: $4.2 - $7M

NHTSA Recall 22V944 pertains to a software fault in the high-voltage battery ECU of certain BMW vehicles from model years 2022 and 2023. These include the iX xDrive40, iX xDrive50, iX M60, i4 eDrive35, i4 eDrive40, i4 M50, and i7 xDrive60. Under certain conditions the software within the battery ECU may cause the unit to temporarily reset, resulting in a sudden loss of power, or stalling of the engine. This power interruption increases the likelihood of a traffic collision and places the driver and others on the road at risk. 

BMW Recall 22V944 impacts over 14,000 units, with an estimated cost of 4.2 and 7 million USD. Although BMW has been rolling out over-the-air updates since 2018, these remain limited in their capacity and scope. Most are restricted to infotainment systems and comfort feature upgrades, along with minimal updates to Advanced Driver Safety Assistance Systems (ADAS). Unfortunately for BMW, this particular recall will require an at-dealership remedy. 

BMW Bonus Recall 

NHTSA Campaign Number: 23V026000

Components: Back Over Prevention, Forward Collision

Estimated Vehicles Affected: 3,4031

Remedy: Free Software Update at the Dealership

This month we’ve decided to highlight BMW Recall 23V026, not due to the recall’s costs or impacts, but as a testament to the current transformation of the automotive industry. Over the last several years, we have seen a huge shift towards connected, autonomous, shared, and electric (CASE) vehicles. With this shift comes novel faults that are unique to these vehicle types. 

NHTSA Recall 23V026 does not place the driver in danger or impact any safety critical systems in the way that faulty airbags, backup cameras, or engine control units might. Instead, it was issued in response to the fault’s impacts on pedestrian safety. Vehicles impacted by this fault fail to produce enough noise to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 141 (FMVSS141). In 2018, NHTSA passed FMVSS141, which established minimum sound requirements for EVs and HEVs and required vehicles to include artificial sound generators to warn pedestrians of the vehicle’s presence/proximity. Without the innovation of CASE vehicles, regulations and faults of this kind wouldn’t exist. 

Chrysler Engine Shutdown

NHTSA Campaign Number: 22V865000

OEM: Chrysler (FCA US, LLC)

Components: Engine

Estimated Vehicles Affected: 62,909

Remedy: Free Software Update at the Dealership

Estimated Cost to OEM: $18.9 - $31.5M

On December 22, 2022, Jeep Wrangler 4ex owners with 2.0L plug-in HEV engines were notified of NHTSA Recall 22V865. This recall is associated with a software fault in the transmission control module that may result in a communication disconnect causing the engine to shut down. Although initial investigations began at the beginning of September, it took engineers over three months to nail down the cause and issue a voluntary recall. 

Since Chrysler OTA updates are currently restricted to navigation and infotainment systems, 100 percent of the potentially impacted units are required to return to the dealership for a free software update. Software-related recalls have an estimated cost of $300 to $500 per vehicle, which means NHTSA Recall 22V865 is likely to cost Chrysler between 18.9 and 31.5 million USD. Additionally, the OEM will need to address any outstanding liability costs. As of November 3rd, there were over 380 incidents (customer assistance records, warranty claims, or field reports) with a potential connection to this fault. 

Harley Davidson Hitting the Brakes

NHTSA Campaign Number: 22V781000

OEM: Harley-Davidson Motor Company

Components: Exterior Lighting 

Estimated Vehicles Affected: 199,419

Remedy: Free Software Update at Dealership and Switch Replacement

Estimated Cost to OEM: $59.8 - $99.7M

Our final recall for today is NHTSA Recall 22V781 which impacts over 199,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The software fault may cause the brake lights to illuminate without brake application from the driver. This can cause confusion, leading to traffic collisions that jeopardize the safety of both the rider and other road users.

Unlike the other software-related recalls we’ve discussed today, this one requires a two-part remedy. The first is a software update to certain Touring and CVO Touring motorcycles from 2019 to 2022. The other requires the physical installation of a new pressure switch for certain Trike and CVO motorcycles. Since Harley-Davidson does not have an over-the-air software solution capable of updating the vehicle’s lighting software, all units will be required to visit a dealership. Excluding replacement hardware costs, the price tag on this recall rolls in at 59 to 99.7 million dollars. 

Impact and Savings With Sibros

So, what’s the bottom line? Why is it so important for OEMs to adopt over-the-air update solutions that can effectively address all software-related recalls, regardless of the impacted ECUs? 

First and foremost, safety. The longer a recall goes unaddressed the greater the chance that the malfunction will result in injury or death – either via a fault-related traffic collision or other event, such as an EV battery fire. What’s more, connected vehicle platforms don’t simply enable OEMs with remote fault fixes, but also early fault identification. With products like Sibros Deep Logger, manufacturers can track vehicle health and run remote diagnostics to identify and mitigate faults before they turn into costly and dangerous recalls. 

Additionally, connected vehicle platforms reduce the overall costs associated with recalls, including lawsuits, labor costs, and error-related vehicle damage. While Tesla is often the poster child for how OTA can streamline recall rollout, other OEMs are starting to get on board. In NHTSA Recall 23V012, Volvo released an over-the-air update to correct a software error in the brake control module (BCM) of certain vehicles. Although this is a huge leap from updating an infotainment system, Volvo’s OTA capabilities are not comprehensive, but rather limited to specific makes, models, and ECUs.

Sibros provides a fully scalable connected vehicle platform, the Deep Connected Platform, that integrates seamlessly with any vehicle architecture to provide full vehicle lifecycle visibility and management. This includes OTA updates, data logging, and diagnostic commands to and from every electrical component and sensor in the vehicle. To learn more about how Sibros can help you power the connected vehicles of today and the software-defined vehicles of the future, talk to us today! 

Sibros’ Recall Calculator 

Recalls are an unavoidable part of running any automotive business, and they can be costly. To make it easier for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to accurately estimate their financial risks, we have developed a recall calculator that provides customizable inputs. This calculator allows OEMs to adjust variables such as the size or type of vehicle, the date of the recall, and other factors to get an accurate overview of the financial implications of a recall. By using this calculator, OEMs can plan ahead and be better prepared for a recall – and its associated costs.

Albert Lilly
Albert Lilly
Albert brings over 20 years of industry focused enterprise software marketing and business development experience ranging from VC-backed startups to large scale tech organizations. He is a University of Texas at Austin alumnus.