Let’s just say this is not your typical auto recall situation.
Generally speaking, the typical automotive recall is for something fairly minor. Takata airbags, faulty ignition switches, and emissions-related recalls are not normal. And neither is this one coming from Subaru, but it’s anything but bad press. According to the Japanese automaker and Consumer Reports, certain 2019 Ascent crossovers are being recalled because they may be missing spot welds on, or around the B-pillar, thus compromising vehicle strength. No, that’s not good. The vehicles in question have structural integrity issues and there’s a greater likelihood for injuries in the event of a crash. No injuries or crashes have been reported so far.
A Subaru spokesman told CR that “if some of the spot welds around the B-pillar were missed, the strength of the vehicle’s body may be reduced, potentially increasing the risk of injury in the event of a crash. “This is why we are replacing the vehicles and not repairing,” he said. The cause for this serious blemish is being blamed on a problem with the software program for welding robots. But how will Subaru repair the welding? It’s not so easy to strip off the body panels and anything else in order to reach the vehicles’ bare metal. No, Subaru will fully replace affected vehicles for new ones built properly.
On top of that, the automaker will cover the cost of any fees, taxes, and registration costs owners may encounter. Fortunately, the number of affected 2019 Ascents are relatively few with a total of 293 vehicles, all of which were built last month. Subaru dealers in the US have also been instructed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration not to sell any Ascents built between July 13-21, all of which can be identified by checking the VIN. Subaru says it will begin notifying owners this month.