Volkswagen is recalling several thousand 2021 Atlas and 2020-2021 Atlas Cross Sport models due to a problem with the airbags. There is a risk of the airbags not functioning properly, and in fact they could deploy unexpectedly.
A total of 54,429 models are affected - 35,449 Atlas and 18,980 Atlas Cross Sport SUVs.
Given recent history regarding airbags, it’s ironic that in this case, the problem doesn't directly involve the airbag system. In fact, the trouble is with the air conditioning vents. In affected vehicle, these were not manufactured properly and are prone to blockage. If a duct becomes blocked, water will seep into the vehicle and come into contact with the airbag control module. Volkswagen says that if water gets into the control module, it can cause the system to fail, with the worst case being an unintended airbag deployment.
The consensus is that the risks are minimal, but they are still real. That's why Volkswagen is proceeding with a campaign. The automaker adds that it is possible that the airbag warning light could come on if a malfunction of the module is detected.
The proposed solution will be to inspect the vent and repair it if necessary. The company expects that less than 1 percent of recalled vehicles will suffer from the defect. If the vent repair is necessary, Volkswagen will also replace the airbag control unit with a new one. As with any recall, all work will be done at the company's expense.
Notifications will be sent to owners around mid-January. We have contacted Volkswagen Canada to find out how many units were affected in Canada. We will update this news when we receive that information.