VW Group has finally issued the recall of 75,000 VW and Seat cars affected by a potentially lethal car seat belt fault. But what took them so long?
On Saturday we revealed Volkswagen Group presented a plastic cable tie as a permanent fix to a potentially lethal car seat belt fault, despite the cable tie not actually fixing the problem.
It’s good news that VW is taking action and issuing a full recall, but the whole saga has highlighted a flawed recall process that has put the safety of drivers at risk.
Seat belt safety
The seat belt issue was first discovered back in May by Finnish magazine, Tekniikan Maailma, which found the rear-left seat belt in the Volkswagen Polo, Seat Ibiza and Seat Arona was at risk of coming undone.
The belt can come undone when both the middle and rear-left seats are occupied if the car is being driven at speed and makes an abrupt lane change.
VW acted, recalling 12,000 VW Polos and thousands of Seat Aronas and Ibizas, fitting the cars with an ‘interim’ cable tie fix.
This didn’t fix the issue, however, and VW owners were told not to use the middle-rear seat until a permanent solution could be implemented at a later date.
VW also issued a warning sticker to all owners from late August onward:
We discovered that Volkswagen had attempted to get the cable tie authorised as a permanent fix to the problem, despite it not actually eliminating the risk of the seat belt coming undone.
VW presented the cable tie as a permanent fix to the safety authority responsible for car safety and recalls, the DVSA – but the DVSA rejected it. Instead, it was approved as a temporary measure.
Crucially, at the same time, VW decided to continue selling the affected cars following the discovery of the fault.
That means after six months of sales since the fault was discovered, that number has now risen to 75,000 affected cars.
What should happen now
VW must make every effort to communicate the recall to the owners of all affected cars.
Owners of affected cars should wait to be contacted by VW or Seat and follow the instructions given. If you do not hear from them shortly, you should pro-actively contact the manufacturer.
We will be closely monitoring the handling of the recall, but the DVSA must also step in and investigate VW’s handling of the whole situation.
Have you been affected by the VW seatbelt fault? Does this latest episode knock your trust in the brand?