This is Nissan's second recall win the last 12 months, after it recalled around 82,000 vehicles last April because a sensor was improperly manufactured and similarly resulted in non-deployment of airbags in the case of a crash.
Nissan has said a software problem failed to identify if there was a passenger occupying the front seat. Safety rules stipulate that the vehicle detect whether the passenger seat is not occupied or if a small child is seated there, and in such cases airbags should not deploy.
The car maker blamed the sensitivity of the software for not detecting an occupant, particularly in cases where “a combination of factors such as high engine vibration at idle when the seat is initially empty and then becomes occupied” or when the seat was found to be in an unusual position.
The recall includes around 544,000 Altima sedans, 29,000 Leaf electric vehicles, 124,000 Pathfinder S.U.V.s and a 183,000 Sentra Compacts. The recall also includes two Infiniti models: 64,000 of the 2013 JX35 and 2014 QX60 models and 40,000 of the 2014 Q50 sedans.
Nissan reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that there have been three accidents but no injuries or deaths were reported.
After the 2013 recall, Nissan was alerted by some customers that the problem persisted, leading to the car maker monitoring such cases. The company concluded last September that the problem was “likely caused by out-of-position occupants.” It was in October that Nissan came up with the software improvement, but still held that the issue was not a safety defect.
[New York Times]