March 16, 2016 1:00 PM, EDT
Volvo Trucks Recalls 15,835 Vehicles to Fix Steering Shaft Issue
Bloomberg News
Volvo Trucks North America is recalling 15,835 of its 2016 and 2017 models in the United States and is urging fleets to take the trucks out of service immediately because the upper and lower steering shafts can separate, raising the possibility of a crash.

The action covers VNL, VNM and VNX models that were produced between May 11 of last year and March 2016, the company told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in its recall notice. There were four reported incidents, but no injuries, the OEM’s notice said.

“We are exploring every option to limit customer downtime. Our intention is to replace all two-piece steering shafts with a one-piece steering shaft,” said a March 10 letter to customers from Tim LaFon, vice president of regulatory affairs at Volvo. “We expect to have an interim solution next week, which will allow for safe operation of the vehicle until a one piece shaft has been installed. We will supply the repair instruction as soon as possible.”

“We recently learned of four cases in which the steering failed on vehicles equipped with a certain two-piece steering shaft,” Volvo spokesman John Mies said. “We have also stopped delivery of any vehicles equipped with the component. We will replace all the two-piece shafts with a one-piece shaft as soon as the parts are available."

Vehicles that have been built will receive a one-piece shaft or an interim fix, which is inspecting the roll pin and securing the upper shaft, Volvo told NHTSA. About 40% of production during the period covered by the recall was not affected since the vehicles had a one-piece steering shaft.

“We are completely committed to the safety of our customers and those they share the road with, and we are keeping NHTSA and Transport Canada advised as we address this issue,” Mies added. “We have worked as quickly as possible to advise customers to remove the affected vehicles from service, and we’re working as quickly as possible to address the problem."

In addition to the U.S. recall, there are 2,803 affected trucks in Canada that are being recalled.

“Because these are new vehicles that have been recently warranty-registered, we are confident that we will be able to reach all the owners,” Mies added.

The NHTSA statement tied the defect to a part supplied by a German company.