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Why Audi's small electric vehicle recall matters

An Audi E-Tron electric SUV is displayed during the May London Motor and Tech Show. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images
An Audi E-Tron electric SUV is displayed during the May London Motor and Tech Show. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Audi yesterday announced a small and voluntary recall of its first fully electric vehicle in the U.S., the luxury E-Tron SUV, due to a fire risk.

Why it matters: Yes, recalls happen in the car industry. But it's coming at a sensitive time as the EV market is still getting off the ground.

  • Cars with a plug are still a tiny share of U.S. sales. Tesla has already had a number of fires, so more incidents with models from any automaker could create consumer doubts.

Driving the news: The VW unit said it's pulling back roughly 1,640 of the vehicles, including 540 already in customers' hands.

  • The problem is a "potentially faulty" seal that could allow water to enter the battery compartment, creating risks of short-circuits or even a fire, Audi said.
  • "We are applying an abundance of caution as no such incidents have been reported globally," Audi of America said.

What's next: Audi said they will be able to resolve the problem in the coming 6-8 weeks for affected customers. The company is offering loaner cars and a $800 cash card to cover costs.

Go deeper: Read Bloomberg's story on the recall.