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Audi to fix Q5 steering

Steering out of bother: The Audi Q5 will get a beefed-up power steering hose to protect against failures.

Better hydraulic hoses for Q5 as Audi Australia addresses power steering problem

24 Mar 2009

AUDI Australia will retro-fit up to 64 examples of its new Q5 medium SUV with an “optimised” power steering return hose after the failure of the power steering systems in three vehicles at this month’s national media launch.

The trio of Q5 3.0 TDI luxury SUVs suffered terminal power steering system failures after traversing a 35km off-road section in the Kosciuszko National Park.

Each vehicle was returned to Audi’s Australian head office in Sydney for further examination after the incidents, leaving just one of four six-cylinder turbo-diesel variants on the launch unaffected.

“It appears the leakage occurred during dynamic driving on an off-road course with subsequent impact stresses and the resulting stresses placed on the servo hose has caused the hose to be significantly weakened,” said Audi in a press statement issued on March 17. “This problem can be solved with an optimised hose.”

Audi initially said that up to 120 examples of the Q5 3.0 TDI could potentially be affected after confirming the issue did not involve either the existing Q5 2.0 TFSI nor the 2.0 TDI or and 3.2 FSI versions that arrive in Australia in April/May.

The company said that all Australian Q5 3.0 TDIs would be fitted with an optimised hose “as a precaution before customer delivery”, and that affected customers would be provided with a service loan vehicle of at least similar level while the hoses were fitted.

However, the following day (March 18), Audi said it had confined the problem only to 3.0 TDI versions of the Q5 fitted with the optional dynamic steering system.

It said a maximum of 64 Q5s could therefore be affected in Australia, none of which had been delivered to customers.

“We will ensure each of these cars are fitted with an optimised power steering return hose before delivery to customers,” Audi Australia’s general manager of corporate communications Anna Burgdorf told GoAuto.

Audi said it did not conduct specific durability testing of the Q5 in Australia, which is one of just three right-hand drive markets for the 3.0 TDI version (alongside New Zealand and the UK), but Australian managing director Joerg Hofmann said during the launch that one-third of the 20,000km clocked up by Audi’s local distribution network took place “off-road”.

“I can tell you 100 per cent that our cars have best-in-class quality,” said Mr Hofmann. “The Q5 has undergone hundreds of thousands of kilometres of testing, in South Africa, everywhere.

“We tested the Q5 over 20,000km in Australia before releasing it to market, with 30 per cent of that off-road. If there had been any product issue, it would have been rectified 10 times before coming to market. I don’t know if it was just an unlucky coincidence,” he said.

Audi had planned to use the Q5 for this year’s running of its annual Trans-Continental Crossing, for which it employed the larger Q7 seven-seater in the two years following its 2006 local release.

However, Audi has cancelled the cross-Australia event for 2009, citing the (estimated $1 million) expense involved during this year’s economic and automotive industry downturn. Audi says it hopes to stage the Q5 Trans-Continental Crossing in 2010.

Read more:

First drive: Newest Audi Q-car hits Oz

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