Subaru welding fail means thousands of new cars are headed to the scrap heap
Subaru has discovered a defect so severe that it is planning to scrap, rather than repair, more than 2,100 new Legacy sedans and Outback SUVs.
Faulty welds not only could lead to an accident, according to the automaker, but increase the risk of injuries to vehicle occupants if one occurs.
The announcement is rare, but not unique, at a time when automotive recalls have been running at or near record levels. Subaru itself staged a similar move a year ago involving a small number of then-new Ascent SUVs.
According to the Japanese automaker, a supplier failed to properly clean part of its machinery, “reducing the effectiveness of (a) welder” that put together sheet metal components used in the cowl, which separates the engine from the passenger compartment, in the Legacy and Outback models. The welds could fail over time.
The problem was discovered within a week, limiting the extent of the problem, nonetheless, the automaker plans to recall 142 of the Legacy sedans and 1,965 of the Outback SUVs. According to Subaru, the majority of those models had yet to be delivered, but at least 20 are currently in the hands of U.S. buyers.
Those who have recently purchased one of those two products can check to see if their vehicles are affected by going to either the Subaru or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website or call the automaker at 844-373-6614. Subaru also plans to send out alerts to impacted buyers in the coming weeks.
Those who have one of the vehicles covered by the recall will be given the option of having it repurchased by Subaru or replaced. All the vehicles will be scrapped, a costly process considering a Legacy starts at around $22,000, the Outback around $26,000 — with both models pushing up towards $40,000 when fully loaded.
Buybacks are rare but not unique in the auto industry. Volkswagen, for one, offered to repurchase thousands of vehicles equipped with illegally rigged diesel engines, though some were also repaired.
A year ago, Subaru had to make a similar move when it discovered welding defects on 243 of the then-new Ascent SUV. As with the latest recall, the vast majority of the affected vehicles had not yet been delivered to customers.