Mercedes to recall more than one million cars

The fault with the emergency call function has been identified in the US, but is also likely to affect European and UK cars...

Mercedes E-Class estate

More than one million Mercedes vehicles have been recalled in the US, because the system that automatically calls the emergency services when the car has been involved in a collision could provide the wrong location information. The problem could result in ambulances taking longer to reach affected cars. 

In the US, the problem affects 1,292,258 cars produced from 2016 onwards and spans a wide range of models. In most cases, it should be fixable via an over-the-air update to the eCall system’s software, but owners can also take their cars to dealerships to have the software update there. 

Mercedes in Europe has not yet provided any details of the models or number of cars affected, but it has confirmed that it is in “close contact with the local authorities”.

It is believed that the fault first came to light on a European vehicle in 2019, and this has been confirmed by a statement from the company. “Product quality and safety are a top priority for Mercedes-Benz, and for this reason we continuously monitor service operations worldwide," it said. "During this product monitoring, Mercedes-Benz has found that in certain vehicles of various model series, the communication module Hermes for the emergency call system (eCall) does not comply with the specifications. 

“In rare cases, this could mean that in the event of an accident-related temporary drop in a vehicle’s voltage, the communication module might not communicate the correct current position when an emergency call is made/triggered.”

Across Europe, eCall systems became mandatory on new cars in 2018, with the technology believed to cut road deaths by as much as 10% by alerting the emergency services immediately after a collision and providing details of the location. 

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