VinFast VF8 Recalled Because Its Only Display Goes Blank
The VF8’s main screen serves in place of traditional gauges, making any failure a safety issue.
Just like every other debutant automaker, Vinfast is hitting turbulence as it establishes itself in the US. Now, the upstart Vietnamese automaker is facing its first major recall just months after launching the 2023 Vinfast VF8.
According to documents filed with the NHTSA, the recall concerns the multifunction head unit display in the VF8 SUV. Typically, a minor issue with an infotainment unit wouldn't be cause for major concern. However, this issue was elevated in the case of the VF8 because the display is the only screen in the vehicle. As it is used in place of a traditional gauge cluster, it displays critical information like vehicle speed and warning lights. Thus, the failure of the display is considered a safety issue.
Vinfast reported to the NHTSA that 999 vehicles could potentially suffer the issue, with an estimated 7% of that population affected. Just 111 of these vehicles were delivered to customers, with a further 153 on fleet duty. The remaining 735 vehicles remain with the manufacturer.
The defect can cause the screen to go blank while driving or stationary. Typically, cycling the vehicle's ignition will reset the screen to proper operation. The reported root cause is a software issue that leads to a communications error in the head unit. When this occurs, rendering to the screen is disrupted, blanking the display.
The issue was first identified on April 27 via a customer reporting the issue. After tracking the issue with customer vehicles, Vinfast identified further incidents in the wild. Steps to pursue a recall were put in place by May 12, following a cross-functional team at VinFast investigating the issue.
The fix for the issue is an over-the-air software update. It consists of a watchdog mechanism that determines if the communications error has occurred and reinitializes the head unit's software if so. VinFast reports that the update can rectify the issue in under 200 ms. That's long enough for the human eye to perceive the screen momentarily blanking, so some owners may not consider this a perfect fix.
VinFast expects to deliver the update starting on May 25.
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