Subaru has recalled 293 of its 2019 Ascent SUVs because they may be missing key spot welds on the B-pillar, which holds the second-row door hinges, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The problem affects fewer than 1 percent of the Ascents built and was caused by improper software programming for the welding robots, Subaru said. It's very rare—but not unheard of—for an automaker to replace a vehicle outright instead of repairing it.
Of the potentially affected vehicles, just nine were sold, Subaru said. The others were either on dealer lots or in transit.
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.
On July 21, Subaru discovered the problem during a routine inspection of a new Ascent and was able to narrow down the build dates involved, NHTSA said. The agency doesn't list any reports of injuries or crashes.
The automaker has ordered dealers not to sell the affected models, which were produced from July 13 through July 21, 2018. But not all Ascents built during that time period are missing the key welds.
Dealers can identify the problem models by checking the vehicle identification number (VIN). Drivers will not be able to see if the welds are missing.
Subaru said it will notify affected owners this month.
The full story, by Jeff S. Bartlett, can be found on consumerreports.org