Volkswagen has long been revered as a trusted and reliable brand. Its cars have been some of the most popular cars in their segments and have garnered some of the strongest fan followings. But it seems Volkswagen’s trust in others may wind up diminishing the trust it receives from consumers, after a recent recall on the almost-brand-new 2020 Volkswagen Passat. Although one of its most popular midsize cars for decades, a dangerous recall on the 2020 model year may put Passat lovers and owners at risk.
How a new recall could put almost 2,000 new Passat owners at risk
Volkswagen recently announced a safety recall on its popular Passat, for a problem that could prove dangerous for affected vehicles and its passengers. According to Car Complaints, a recall was issued at the beginning of September 2020, affecting more than 1,800 units in the U.S. and 290 units in Canada. But while the number of affected cars may seem minimal, the recall affecting nearly 2,000 Volkswagen Passat models is dangerous.
Amidst issuing the recall, Volkswagen claimed that it was “contacted by supplier Autoliv in November 2019 about an unapproved airbag folding table used during production.” Because of the way these airbags were mistakenly folded, some passenger airbags “may deploy with too much force.”
Volkswagen admits that these faulty airbags could deploy with too much force in an accident or collision, causing serious safety risks. In occupant safety testing, the airbag force limit was exceeded. In fact, Volkswagen states that “there is an increased risk of an occupant injury or death if the passenger airbag deploys with a small child standing on the passenger floor directly in front of the airbag.” No injuries have been reported from this airbag recall so far.
This comes after a recall issued in March 2019, only months after receiving notification of potentially faulty airbags. According to Consumer Reports, a total of three 2020 Volkswagen Passats were recalled and fixed when Volkswagen discovered that “an incorrect driver and/or front passenger side-impact airbag may have been installed.” It seems Volkswagen may have an issue with airbag manufacturers as it was also one of the brands included in the massive Takata airbag recall.
How to know if your 2020 Volkswagen Passat is affected by the recall and what to do next
Owners of 2020 Volkswagen Passat models are free to contact certified dealers as well as Volkswagen and the NHTSA to check the status of their Passat with the recall number “69AY.” But this is not considered a voluntary recall. According to the NHTSA, “Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger frontal airbag, free of charge.”
Volkswagen is expected to officially begin the recall on October 30, 2020, when dealers will be able to begin replacing the airbags on affected Passats. Owners of Passats that may be affected will be notified by Volkswagen directly and guided to a dealer for a total replacement.
Recent recalls aside: is the 2020 Volkswagen Passat a good purchase?
Aside from Volkswagen’s obvious need for a new airbag manufacturer, there aren’t too many other impressive things to say about the 2020 Passat. According to U.S. News, the 2020 Volkswagen Passat “sits near the bottom” of the midsize car rankings, falling short of most competitors in a variety of categories. Although the Passat still has its familiar spaciousness and comfortable ride, rivals fare better in the categories that matter most to midsize car shoppers: fuel-economy, cabin materials/features, and infotainment system.
The 2020 Volkswagen Passat never has been and refrains from being a “bad” car. But when stacked up against the competition, new owners can avoid problems and get more for less with an alternative midsize car.