If you just bought a 2019 Subaru Ascent, the brand’s new three-row SUV, the company may replace it with another brand-new car because of an unusual recall for a flaw that dealers can’t repair.
Subaru is recalling 293 vehicles in the U.S. because they’re missing spot welds in the B-pillar (that’s the vertical structural element behind the front door, where it latches). The welds are critical to maintaining the body frame’s rigidity in a crash. Since local dealers aren’t equipped with or trained to use welding robots, all of the affected cars must be returned to Subaru and crushed. Subaru said it found missing welds on certain 2019 Ascent models in a “routine sampling inspection” at its Lafayette, Indiana, assembly plant on July 21, according to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The welding robots were initially programmed incorrectly. Subaru says the robots were reprogrammed the following day. However, Subaru is recalling specific cars completed between July 16 and July 25.
Subaru said it started contacting owners on July 26 and will mail an official notice by the end of August. The automaker wants owners to bring their cars to the dealer for a 10-minute visual inspection, and if factory inspectors find that the welds are missing, it will arrange to replace the car and cover “any taxes, registration, or other fees” that result. An unspecified number of potentially affected cars may remain in dealer inventory and are now deemed “unsalable” until inspectors sign off, according to the notice. Subaru did not say if owners could change any options or equipment on these replacements, only referring to them as “comparable vehicles.”
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