Nissan, one of the world’s largest automakers, is voluntarily recalling nearly a million vehicles in the U.S. because front passenger-side air bags might not deploy and inflate in a crash. The recall was made public in a Defect Information Report submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
Nissan, which also makes Infiniti models, informed the NHTSA that a software calibration problem on certain models might not be able to detect when there’s a passenger in the front seat. This could cause the air bag to not deploy in a crash. The U.S. government requires automakers to equip their new cars with front passenger airbag sensors that can detect when no one is in the seat or when a small child is seated there.
Nissan reported that they were aware of three accidents in which the passenger airbag did not deploy and they were not aware of any fatality accidents involving the air bag defect.
The Affected Nissan Models
The vehicles being recall, which are some of the automakers top sellers, are:
– 2013-2014 Nissan Altima, approximately 544,139 vehicles
– 2013-2014 Nissan LEAF
– 2013-2014 Nissan Pathfinder
– 2013-2014 Nissan Sentra
– 2013 NV200/Taxi
– 2013 Infiniti JX35
– 2014 QX60
– 2014 Infiniti Q50
The manufacturer dates on these models range from January 24, 2012 until February 12, 2014. Nissan has stated they will begin notifying owners of these ‘potentially affected’ vehicles in mid-April 2014 of the recall and fix the software glitch at no charge to the customer.
The Timing of the Recall
This recall comes on the heels of GM’s massive recall, which has reached 1.6 million vehicles. In this case, Nissan is being much more proactive than GMs appalling more than decade long delay in recalling models affected by an ignition switch defect that has been linked to twelve deaths.
In their report to the NHTSA, Nissan stated they identified the defect on March 19, 2014 and the report was issued five days later, which would be within the period of time for Nissan to avoid penalties for failing to report a known defect.
Nissan is not alone in having difficulty with airbag safety. GM recently recalled 1.3 million sport utility vehicles for an air bag malfunction. In 2013, Honda and Toyota both issued recalls stemming from air bag safety issues.