Volkswagen issues recall for faulty front passenger airbag, warns drivers to not let anyone ride in front

Volkswagen is recalling two models because of a “faulty occupant detection system” that prevents the passenger airbag from deploying during a crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The recall includes the select model years 2018-2021 Atlas and the 2020 Atlas Cross Sport vehicles.

Owners are urged to not let anyone sit in the front passenger seat until their vehicle is fixed.

Anyone who owns one of these models can visit the NHTSA website to enter the vehicle VIN number to see if it is under recall.

More than 143,000 vehicles are impacted by this recall.

Volkswagen issued another passenger air bag recall in 2021 that affected more than 240,000 Audi vehicles.

The news release from the NHTSA states the manufacturer said a fault in the wiring could deactivate the passenger occupant detection system. This would prevent an airbag from deploying during a crash.

The NHTSA also said, “Volkswagen is currently developing a remedy and will notify affected owners as soon as the repair is available.”

In an email, a spokesperson for Volkswagen sent 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS this statement in response to the recall:

Volkswagen has notified NHTSA of a voluntary safety recall affecting approximately 143,037 MY 2018-2021 VW Atlas vehicles and 15 MY 2020 Atlas Cross Sport vehicles.

The seat heating mat within the passenger seats contains a capacitive sensor for identifying the occupant, with which the front passenger airbag is deactivated when required (i.e. child seat in front passenger seat). Due to a missing contact, a fault may occur at the cable connecting the seat heater of the passenger occupant detection system (PODS) control unit. The sporadic fault is indicated to the customer by the airbag warning light and the passenger airbag off light.

We are not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this recall.

Volkswagen will notify owners of the affected vehicles on or before May 26, 2023 with a repair ready likely in late 2023.

Volkswagen Group of America