VW says sorry for child carjacking fiasco, makes safety service free

Enlarge / Modern VWs are equipped with an SOS button that connects to emergency services. Now it’s making the service free for five years. (credit: Volkswagen)

Last month, Volkswagen garnered plenty of bad publicity when it emerged that the company’s connected car service refused to help track a stolen car—with a 2-year-old child still on board—until someone paid to reactivate the service. Now, the automaker says it’s very sorry this happened, and it’s making its connected vehicle emergency service free to most model-year 2020-2023 Volkswagens.

The toddler-containing car—a 2021 VW Atlas—was stolen from its owner’s driveway in Libertyville, Illinois, after thieves jumped out of a white BMW and assaulted her, seriously injuring her as they drove over her in their escape, according to the Lake County sheriff’s office.

The police immediately contacted VW Car-Net, the connected car service, in order to track the stolen Atlas. But since the Atlas’ Car-Net trial subscription had ended, the representative would not provide the location of the stolen vehicle until the service had been reactivated at the cost of $150.

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