Steering gremlins trip up Merc’s new C-Class

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

MERCEDES-Benz will pull every single new-generation C-Class sedan in Australia back to workshops after its German headquarters flagged fears that their steering systems could unexpectedly lock up.

The luxury German car maker will contact owners by mail – as well as dealerships with new cars still on showroom floors – over the coming weeks, asking them to have the steering unit inspected and, in a worst-case scenario, replaced.

According to Mercedes-Benz, steering coupling locks in 946 new-generation C-Class sedans either sold or on sale in Australia may not have been correctly engaged, resulting in a “rattling noise” from the steering column.

In extreme cases, though, the car maker has warned of a “possible loss” of steering, increasing the likelihood of a crash.

Mercedes-Benz said it had not heard of the problem surfacing in Australia, but as a precaution it would be inspecting all C-Class sedans free of charge to ensure no cars sold here were affected.

The Mercedes-Benz recall follows another one issued overnight for the Jeep Grand Cherokee – the seventh time this year the large US off-roader has flagged safety concerns.

However, this latest Jeep recall affects more than 4700 vehicles sold almost a decade ago, and relates to an ignition barrel that could have an “unexpected change” in its switch position, killing the engine unexpectedly.

As well as a loss of power steering and braking assistance, Fiat Chrysler Australia warns that the loss of power could also affect safety systems such as airbags, which may not fire in a crash.

The latest recall for the Jeep Grand Cherokee gives it the title of Australia’s most recalled vehicle so far in 2014.

Ironically, Mercedes-Benz's C-Class is in a fierce battle with the Jeep Grand Cherokee for a place in the top 10 list of Australia's best-selling cars.

The Jeep, a consistent top 10 performer, snuck into September's list of Australia's best-selling models in 10th spot, with the C-Class in 11th place and only about 150 sales behind it.

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