Mercedes-Benz has recalled approximately 1.29 million cars in the United States due to a fault with the eCall system – technology designed to pinpoint the location of a crashed car and alert emergency services.
It is the same fault that triggered a recall of 571 examples of Mercedes cars in Australia in November 2020.
The Mercedes emergency call, or 'eCall', interface is activated in the event an accident causes the deployment of airbags or seatbelt tensioners, automatically notifying the Mercedes-Benz emergency response centre to provide key information such as vehicle location, vehicle condition, and number of occupants.
The software issue that prompted the US recall could see the eCall interface summon emergency services providers to the wrong location of a crash.
In the US, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a recall notice for 2016-2021 CLA, GLA, GLE, GLS, SLC, A-Class, GT, C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, CLS, SL, B-Class, GLB, GLC, and G-Class cars.
In Australia, 571 model-year 2019 CLA cars have been affected by the issue, with Mercedes-Benz Australia commencing the recall back in November 2020.
The US recall notice explains: "If there is a drop of the power supply to the communications module during a crash, the automatic eCall system may register the location of the vehicle’s last ignition cycle, rather than its location at the time the eCall system is activated."
"Emergency responders may be dispatched to an inaccurate vehicle location, increasing the risk of injury following a crash. Nevertheless, the other functions of the automatic and manual emergency call function are not affected by this issue."
US owners affected by the recall will be contacted by mail to organise an authorised dealer or an over-the-air (OTA) update to fix the issue.
"For vehicles with a 'Mercedes Me' subscription service, the software update will be performed OTA and so a dealer visit is not required," the recall notice states.
Does this recall affect Australian cars?
Yes, the recall commenced in November 2020. Click here for more details.
"This recall has been actioned in Australia and customers have been contacted. Locally, it affects 571 examples of the MY2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA, which all have the provision for over-the-air updates with no workshop visit required," a Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesperson confirmed to CarAdvice.
Australian owners have already been notified. A full list of vehicle identification numbers for the 571 cars involved in the recall can be found here.