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271,000 Volkswagens recalled for passenger airbag dangers

Volkswagen SUVs Recalled for Faulty Airbags That Could Deploy Inadvertently

Volkswagen has initiated a recall of more than 271,000 SUVs in the United States due to a potential problem with the front passenger airbag failing to deploy during a collision. The recall affects specific models of the Atlas SUV from 2021 to 2024 and some 2020 to 2024 Atlas Cross Sport SUVs.

According to documents released by U.S. safety regulators, Volkswagen has identified a wiring issue beneath the front passenger seat that could lead to a malfunction. This fault may disable the sensor responsible for detecting a passenger’s presence, thereby preventing the airbag from inflating correctly and increasing the risk of injury in the event of a crash.

Faulty Wiring to Blame

If the wiring fault occurs, drivers will receive an audible warning and an error message on the instrument panel. As a precautionary measure, Volkswagen advises owners to refrain from using the front passenger seat until the necessary recall repairs are completed.

The automaker plans to replace the sensor mat and wiring harness free of charge for affected owners, with notifications expected to be sent out starting August 16. Volkswagen has disclosed that 1,730 warranty claims could be associated with this airbag issue.

Getting the Defective Airbag Repaired

Concerned owners can contact Volkswagen’s customer service at (866) 893-5298, referencing the recall number “69PZ.” Alternatively, they can contact the NHTSA’s vehicle safety hotline at (888) 327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153) or visit for additional information on the recall.

Risk of Death or Injury

Risk of injury or death from shrapnel: In a crash, the defective Takata airbags can explode and shoot metal shrapnel toward vehicle occupants. This shrapnel can cause lacerations, blinding, and even death.  At least 16 deaths and hundreds of injuries in the U.S. have been linked to this issue.

Airbags may fail to deploy correctly: The defect can also cause the airbags to underinflate or fail to deploy in a crash, leading to severe injuries, especially in the face and head.

Continued degradation over time: The ammonium nitrate propellant in the airbag inflators can degrade, especially when exposed to heat and humidity.

Possible legal consequences: Knowingly driving with a dangerously defective safety component could potentially lead to legal issues for a vehicle owner if they were in an accident where the passenger was injured or killed.

Takata Airbags Have Seen Massive Recalls

Takata has been issuing recalls for what feels like decades to those working in the automotive industry. As of January 2024, more than 20 car manufacturers had recalled more than 100 million Takata airbag inflators, and at least 19 different automakers alone had recalled about 67 million defective Takata airbags in the United States.

The defective Takata airbags can explode upon deployment, hurling sharp metal shrapnel toward vehicle occupants. This has caused at least 27 deaths (including 17 in the U.S.) and over 400 injuries in the United States.

Takata began making airbags with ammonium nitrate propellant in 1988. Issues with rupturing inflators started emerging as early as 2000, but automakers didn’t begin issuing extensive recalls until 2013. According to USA Today, in May 2015, Takata acknowledged that some of its inflators were defective and agreed to a recall of around 32 million. In May 2016, it decided to recall 35–40 million inflators, making it the largest automotive recall in U.S. history.

According to NHTSA, the vehicles most affected by the Takata airbag issues besides Volkswagen are:

  • Honda and Acura vehicles from 2001-2003, especially the 2001-2002 Honda Accord, 2001-2002 Honda Civic, 2002 Honda CR-V, 2002 Honda Odyssey, 2003 Honda Pilot, and 2002-2003 Acura TL, have been identified as having the highest-risk “Alpha” inflators that are most prone to rupture.
  • The 2006 Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series trucks are also considered high-risk with “Alpha” inflators.
  • Certain 2003-2008 Toyota Corolla, Matrix, Pontiac Vibe, and 2004-2007 Honda Accord models have some of the highest defect rates uncovered in Takata’s testing.

Other commonly affected models across many makes include:

  • 2003-2013 BMW 3 Series
  • 2005-2015 Chrysler 300
  • 2005-2010 Dodge Charger, Challenger, Magnum
  • 2003-2008 Infiniti FX35/FX45
  • 2001-2003 and 2006-2008 Nissan Maxima
  • 2002-2004 Nissan Pathfinder and Infiniti QX4
  • 2002-2006 Nissan Sentra
  • 2003-2008 Subaru Legacy and Outback

If you have been injured due to a defective car part, contact an auto product liability lawyer as soon as possible to preserve your evidence. In an auto defect lawsuit, preserving the car part is critical to building your case.

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