Volkswagen is conducting a recall of certain 2012 and 2013 Beetle small cars over concerns that the front passenger airbag may deploy even if a child is secured in a passenger restraint.
A notice on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website lists the number of vehicles potentially affected at 2,471. Affected vehicles are those equipped with leather sport seats and were built from February 2012 through August 2012.
2012 Volkswagen Beetle, Bear Mountain, NY, May 2012
The NHTSA bulletin and documentation from Volkswagen (PDF) indicate that the problem, which was discovered during routine factory inspections, stems from an incorrectly coded Passenger Occupant Detection System control module in the right front passenger location. If the leather seat gets wet, the control module may not properly detect a child restraint that is secured on the right passenger seat.
As a consequence, the airbag will not be turned off as expected. The airbag light will not illuminate, which alerts the driver that the passenger airbag has not been turned off
There is a risk of serious injury to a child in the event of a crash with an airbag deployment. According to Volkswagen, no injuries have been reported as a result of this issue. As the NHTSA and other safety agencies and organizations recommend, children in child restraints should always be properly secured in the back seat of vehicles.
What Volkswagen will do
Although no schedule has yet been provided to the NHTSA, Volkswagen will notify owners and dealers will replace the control modules at no charge.
In the meantime, owners of 2012-2013 Volkswagen Beetle cars with any questions or concerns may contact Volkswagen at 1-800-822-8987. The Volkswagen safety recall number is 6919/W6.
Alternatively, owners of vehicles involved in the campaign may contact NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to http://www.safercar.gov. Reference the NHTSA campaign ID No. 12V540000.