Volvo is recalling nearly 4,000 U.S.-registered XC90 crossovers from the 2016 model year According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, those vehicles may suffer from a design flaw that could prevent some airbags from deploying during collisions.
The problem, which we first reported when Volvo halted deliveries a few weeks ago, is rooted in an improperly designed panel on the inside of the D-pillars (i.e. the supports at the back of the vehicle, between the rear windows and the hatchback). NHTSA documents report that the panel may prevent the D-pillars' inflatable curtain airbags from fully deploying. If that should happen, passengers in the third row of the XC90 would have less protection in an accident.
The problem is limited to XC90 vehicles built between January 27, 2015 and July 10, 2015. Volvo reports that a total of 3,911 U.S. vehicles are affected by the recall.
(Side note: Some have expressed concerns about Volvo quality, now that the company is owned by Chinese automaker Geely. Here at TCC, many readers reiterated those concerns after we reported that Volvo would sell a Chinese-made model in the U.S. The XC90, however, isn't it. The XC90 is manufactured in Sweden.)
Volvo says that it will begin mailing recall notices to owners around September 4, 2015. After receiving those notices, owners will be able to take their XC90s to Volvo dealers, who will modify the D-pillar interior panels so that they allow for full inflation of the third row airbags. The fix will be carried out free of charge.
If you own an XC90 and have questions, you're encouraged to contact Volvo customer service at 201-768-7300, or call NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #15V497000.