Volkswagen recalled over 246,000 vehicles in the U.S. and Canada because a defective wiring harness can cause the vehicles to brake unexpectedly, sometimes while in traffic, and result in a crash.
The problem is also linked to problems with the airbags deploying too late and the parking brake suddenly coming on.
The recall was issued after the Associated Press reported that 47 people had complained about the same glitches in their VW Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport SUVs over the past two years.
The owners reported beeping alarms, dashboard warning lights, the driver’s side windows suddenly rolling down, and abrupt braking.
“It literally feels like the car is possessed,” said Kendall Heiman, a clinical social worker in Kansas. “I’m not feeling like I’m driving my car. My car is driving me.”
Some drivers reported that they narrowly avoided being rear-ended when their vehicles suddenly braked while in traffic.
On Friday, March 18, VW announced a recall for certain Atlas SUVs from the 2019 through 2023 model years, as well as the 2020 through 2023 Atlas Cross Sport.
VW blamed the problem on corrosion in the electrical contacts on a wiring harness in either of the front doors.
The problem can also cause the side air bags to deploy late in a crash, or cause the parking brake to come on unexpectedly, according to VW.