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Volkswagen Recalls Over 307,000 Atlas, Atlas Cross SUVs for Airbag Problem

Volkswagen Atlas 2022 | Photo: D.Boshouwers
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Daniel Rufiange
The vehicle’s front passenger detection system may not recognize the presence of a passenger, so the airbag might not deploy during an crash.

Volkswagen is recalling just over 307,000 Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport SUVs due to a potential defect with the wiring that could deactivate the front passenger airbags when the seat is occupied.

The recall affects 271,000 Atlas (2021-2024) and Atlas Cross Sport (2020-2024) SUVs in the U.S., as well as some 36,000 units in Canada.

Transport Canada explains the situation as follows: the vehicle's front passenger occupant detection system (PODS = Passenger Occupant Detection System) may not function properly, which could deactivate the front passenger airbag system, even when the seat is occupied.

This can cause an error message to be displayed on the instrument panel, and an audible warning signal to sound. The airbag warning light would also display the message "passenger airbag off".

Volkswagen Atlas Cross 2022
Volkswagen Atlas Cross 2022 | Photo: D.Heyman

This is Volkswagen's second recall for this problem. In March 2023, the company recalled 143,000 Atlas (2018-2021) and Atlas Cross Sport vehicles from the 2020 model-year.

The automaker says it acted this time as a precautionary measure after receiving 1,730 warranty claims for the replacement of passenger detection system parts.

Volkswagen will notify owners by mail by August 16 and ask them to take their vehicle to a dealer to have the occupant detection sensor and seat wiring harness replaced. The company recommends that no one should ride in the front passenger seat if a PODS error message is displayed on the dashboard or the airbag warning light indicates "passenger airbag off".

Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists