This has been a really rough year for Subaru.
The NHTSA has decided to make this week tough for Subaru after it announced some sad recall news for the Japanese automaker, adding fuel to the rumors that the company is currently undergoing a quality crisis. The recall, falling under NHTSA Campaign Number 19V493000, covers an estimated 2,107 brand-new 2019 Outback SUVs and 2019 Legacy sedans (though Subaru claims the numbers of affected vehicles is closer to 200 and that only 12-20 of them may be in owner's hands) that have been found to have a severe welding defect.
The defect stems from an improperly applied spot weld on the duct below the cowl panel, which could have a negative effect on the vehicle's structural integrity. Given that the area in question is part of the crash structure, the danger is that the improper weld could reduce the structure's strength, which in turn could reduce energy absorption during an impact and cause injuries in the event of a crash.
From an owner's perspective, this is a scary issue because it means that a 2019 Legacy or Outback may not perform as well as crash standards require it to. From Subaru's perspective, it's not much better. That's because, while many recalls are issued to replace a certain part or update a vehicle's software, the defective component on these models is tough to repair, meaning Subaru will either replace customer vehicles entirely or pay them the market value of the car so they can get another.
Owners of these 2019 Legacys and Outbacks can contact the automaker's customer service and use Subaru's number for the recall (WUH-93) to see if their vehicles are affected. Buyers with affected vehicles should expect the recall to start on July 26th, 2019.
The news comes at a bad time for Subaru. That's because a string of recalls and quality concerns have started to plague the automaker as its sales numbers have grown and production standards, as well as its supply of available technicians, have struggled to stay high during the scale-up. Just last year, Subaru recalled 250,000 Legacys and Outbacks for bad fuel indicators right after the Ascent was recalled for a similar reason as the current recall: bad spot welds that forced the automaker to replace customer's vehicles.
Subaru's quality concerns have gone on to earn it lower JD Power rankings than it previously had, while the mounting costs of more recalls are cutting into the automaker's profitability. Hopefully, Subaru can weather this storm and turn things around quickly.
This story has been updated to accurately reflect the number of affected vehicles.