As many as 177,000 Mitsubishi vehicles are involved in a recall. The announcement of the recall comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects Investigations Enforcement. This recall affects up to five years of select models.
The vehicles in the recall
There are two models involved in the recall. Both of them are crossover vehicles. The first model of concern is the 2014 through 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander. The second model involved in the recall is the 2018 through 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV models.
The trigger for the recall
The action is being taken due to a concern with the seatbelts. According to the posting on the NHTSA’s web site,
“The second-row center seat belt buckle may interfere with the right-side seat belt buckle when the seatbacks are folded down. The interference may cause the right-side seat belt buckle cover to come off, making the buckle latch inoperable and unable to restrain an occupant.”
Unfortunately, according to CarComplaints.com, there were reports of this failure as far back as eight years ago. Since then, over fifty field reports were submitted in Mitsubishi’s investigation. Carcomplaints continues with the historical account, “However, Mitsubishi concluded it wasn’t an “unreasonable risk to safety””. At that point, the NHTSA stepped in.
What could happen
The report from NHTSA made no mention of injuries that have occurred in relation to the part failures. However, an inoperable seat belt for any occupant is a concern. In the event of a collision, that occupant can be launched into different parts or people within the vehicle and possibly even be ejected from the vehicle. So, there is an increased opportunity for injury.
What Mitsubishi will do
Mitsubishi Motors North America will notify owners. This recall will begin on September 11, 2020. In the interim, owners may contact Mitsubishi at 1-888-648-7820 and reference recall SR-20-004. Once the vehicle has been scheduled for service,
“Dealers will modify the second-row center seat belt buckle cover, install a new warning label to the second-row seat support base, and provide a new warning label insert for the owner’s manual, free of charge.”
June’s sales figures show that the Outlander sold 900 units during the month. The Outlander model has a starting price of $24,895. The Outlander PHEV model moved 94 units. The PHEV model has a starting price of $36,295.
Seatbelts are safety devices. This means that they are kind of important. That leads to the question, Is Mitsubishi taking the recall seriously enough? In theory, they have known for eight years that something was not right with some of their seatbelts. But, when the problem was finally pinpointed, it was almost swept under the rug until the NHTSA stepped in.
To be fair, It is great that Mitsubishi is going to finally fix the problem. However, they are waiting until September to begin addressing the seatbelt concern. Something seems odd here with this recall. There must be a missing piece of information. Is there a delay in getting the parts?
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