- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 4, 2003

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Feb. 4 (UPI) — Higher than normal failures of ignition coils in 2001 and 2002 model cars prompted Volkswagen of American Inc. and Audi of America Inc. to recall about 530,000 vehicles, VW said Tuesday.

All 2001 and 2002 models and some 2003 models are affected by a lingering problem that has stranded many Volkswagen and Audi owners on roadsides seeking a tow or emergency road service.

VW and Audi dealers will replace the ignition coils that fail at no cost to owners, and in the coming months proactively replace all ignition coils whether they fail or not. Owners will be offered free loaner or rental cars to minimize inconvenience during repairs.

"We know that some ignition coils installed in our cars are not up to our high-quality standards," said Gerd Klauss, president and chief executive officer of Volkswagen. "The right thing to do is to fix every single car with these coils by replacing them whether they are broken yet or not. That is exactly what we will do as soon as we have the parts."

Klauss said the German supplier of the defective part was working three shifts seven days a week to increase production and that a second supplier also was making the coils.

Volkswagen and Audi had drawn criticism from angry owners whose cars had sat at repair shops for days or weeks because of a shortage of replacement coils.

The German vehicles have either four or six coils, one for each cylinder, while most American automakers use a single coil to provide the high-voltage needed to fire an engine's sparkplugs during the power cycle of operation.

Recalled cars include the upscale Audi TT and A4, the VW Golf/GTI, Jetta, New Beetle and Passat equipped with 1.8 liter four-cylinder engines, the Passat V8, all VWs equipped with narrow-angle 2.8 liter VR6 engines, and the 3.0 liter V6 Audi.

If an ignition coil fails, the car will run rough or lose power and the "check engine" light will blink. The companies began sending customer service action notification letters to owners last week.

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