Don't worry, manual Vantage models are safe.
We almost couldn't believe it, but when we looked back to see how many articles we'd written about Aston Martin recalling cars, only one story came up. Aston Martin had a small recall for heated seats that got too hot, but other than that we haven't really seen the British automaker issue many recalls. Unfortunately no one is perfect and the company has now had to issue a recall for 1,658 Vantage models around the globe. Auto News Europe reports that routine transmission software updates led to issues with cars that stalled and lost power in China.
Back in May, a team of Aston Martin engineers travelled to China to investigate an issue that owners have complained about since 2014. Aston Martin believes that this recall is very important because it began in China, not the US where recalls normally originate. I don't think it is the only example, but it's interesting that it started from China and becomes a global recall," CEO Andy Palmer said. "It demonstrates the importance of China, the sophistication of the customer and the diligence of the authorities there." The British company sold 3,259 cars last year and 8 percent of them were to China.
This recall is coming at a really bad time as Aston Martin just posted its first profits in over a decade. The UK automaker wants to avoid any negative publicity because it plans to go public in the future. Luckily this recall is just a software issue that will cost Aston Martin around 300,000 GBP ($380,760). The recall will affect Vantage models built between June 2010 and September 2013 with the Sportshift I and Sportshift II automated manual transmissions. Anyone who smartly bought their Vantage with the wonderful manual transmission will be safe from this recall. Palmer said that the issue was caused by Chinese dealerships that didn't reset the clutch position after software updates to the transmission.
In the normal course of events, when you make a software change, you have to re-teach the engagement position of the clutch. And most of our dealers around the world automatically did that," Palmer said. If the clutch is not re-taught that biting point, it could cause the engine to stall. Palmer takes responsibility for not teaching Chinese Aston Martin dealers to reset the clutch when doing a software update. The company knows of 21 cars that have stalled because of this issue, all in China. As a part of the recall, the fluid pipe connectors on the gearboxes will also be replaced. We have an excellent solution to solve this issue in the future, just buy a manual car.