Deliveries Of 2012 Subaru Impreza Slowed By Brake Recall

December 16, 2011
Thinking of signing on the dotted line for a new Subaru today—or any other new car, for that matter—and planning to drive away in it this weekend? We suggest you make sure that any recalls applying to the car have already been done.

If they haven't, you might not be allowed to drive off the lot. Subaru, for example, several weeks ago announced a safety-related recall pertaining to a potential brake issue, and since then the automaker has been rushing to get enough parts out to fix thousands of vehicles that were either already sold or already in dealer lots.

At this point, at some dealerships, there are plenty of cars on the lot; but since many of those haven't yet been fixed, they're not salable—or to be more specific, they can't yet be delivered.

But it isn't the fault of Subaru dealerships that they aren't yet caught up in fixing their own inventory. That's because the recall effort prioritizes the shipment of parts for cars by manufacturing date. According to a couple of dealerships we called, the new parts are rolling in, a few at a time, so they're still chipping away at a backlog.

The recall covers 2012 Subaru Impreza models (except WRX and STI) built from April 21, 2011 through November 15, 2011, as well as 2012 Subaru Legacy and Outback models built from October 17, 2011 through November 23, 2011. A total of 31,959 U.S.-market vehicles are affected, including 11,553 Impreza sedans and wagons (or hatchbacks, as the rest of us know them) and 20,406 Legacy/Outback models. About 3,000 of those vehicles affected had already been delivered, according to Subaru's director of corporate communications, Michael McHale.

The issue relates to a manufacturing issue that could have caused one of the critical seals within the braking system's master cylinder to become deformed. Although the issue hasn't led to any accidents or injuries, it could lead to a soft brake pedal and an increase in pedal travel before the vehicle stops.

Under the recall, which was officially announced November 27, dealerships are instructed to inspect the affected components and as necessary replace the master cylinder assembly. The inspection to see if a vehicle is affected takes just 10 minutes, while the repair itself takes another hour, according to the automaker.

Subaru's McHale says that supply of the new 2012 Impreza was already limited before the recall, so now for some dealerships it might be especially tight.

Christian Manz, Internet sales and fleet manager for Carr Subaru in Beaverton, Oregon, hasn't noticed any serious supply problems due to the recall—although their dealership has had to delay some deliveries to customers about a week because of it. Another dealership reported a two-week delay in some cases.

But relative to the supply and delivery issues Subaru has already faced earlier this year--the March 11 earthquake, which caused supplier interruptions and affected inventories for months--this effort is just a minor hassle said Manz, who put it into perspective. “Catching up with what happened in Japan in March was a much bigger issue.”

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