Nissan, already dealing with the fallout from the Takata airbag crisis, Friday recalled 3.53 million vehicles worldwide because a front passenger-side sensor may malfunction. The recall is the fourth since 2013 to deal with occupant classification system (OCS) issues. The fault involves failure properly to identify a front seat passenger as an adult.
According to the automaker, the system may classify a passenger as:
- A child
- An empty seat
Even though an adult occupies the place; the sensor malfunction could lead to an airbag failing to deploy in a crash. Nissan has received three injury reports linked to this failure, but no fatalities.
The recall includes the following vehicles:
- 2013-17 Nissan Altima
- 2013-17 Nissan Leaf
- 2013-17 Nissan Maxima
- 2013-17 Nissan Murano
- 2013-17 Pathfinder
- 2013-17 Nissan Sentra
- 2013-17 Nissan Rogue
- 2013-17 NV200
- 2013-17 NV Taxi
- 2013-17 Infiniti JX35/QX60/Q50
- 2013-17 Chevrolet City Express built for General Motors by Nissan
According to Nissan, the majority of the vehicles – 3.2 million – are located in the U.S. “The planned remedy varies by vehicle and will include software reprogramming in some models and hardware replacement in other models,” Dave Reuter, Nissan spokesman, said. The automaker is in the process of finalizing its specific plan. Dealers will receive information in late May. Of the 3.2 million recalled, only about 20 percent – 640,000 – need new hardware.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reviewed 1,271 complaints and warranty claims regarding the issue to determine whether an earlier recall solved the problem. Interestingly, most complaints from owners whose Nissan had been repaired said the airbag deactivation light remained on, even with an adult in the right front seat. The reports caused the agency to upgrade in an investigation into the issue in 2015.
OCS has been troublesome to Nissan. IN 2014, the automaker recalled 990,000 U.S. vehicles to look at the same problem. The 2014 action expanded a 2013 recall. Nissan also recalled 920 vehicles for the same issue in October 2015.
In a second recall today, Nissan said the installation of a child restraint system may deform the front passenger seatbelt bracket if an owner uses it to secure a baby seat. As a result, 622,110 Sentras were recalled to have the belt bracket reinforced.