A consumer group has claimed that thousands of cars that were manufactured by Volkswagen that have a “potentially lethal” seat belt fault were sold to customers after the discovery of the issue.
In an investigation that was conducted by a Finnish car magazine last May, it discovered that the centre-rear seatbelt failed when the back seats of the vehicle were full and the vehicle turned sharply.
According to Which?, a consumer group, Volkswagen was able to sell almost 55,000 of the potentially faulty cars after the discovery. It prompted criticism regarding how the manufacturing giant handled the said issue.
The Home products and services managing director of Which?, Alex Neill, stated: “VW’s handling of this potentially lethal safety issue has been completely unsatisfactory.”
He added: “It’s shocking that they proposed a permanent fix that doesn’t even properly solve the problem, and we’re concerned that customers might not always be getting the right information at the point of sale.”
He continued: “The decision not to suspend sales when the problem was discovered has now put substantially more drivers, as well as their passengers, at risk. The DVSA must investigate VW’s handling of the whole situation.”
The consumer group said that approximately 75,000 owners are currently affected in total.
The BBC reported that customers in the United Kingdom that bought the Seat Ibiza, Arona, and VW Polo cars will be offered a fix on Monday.
In an interview with the broadcaster, a spokesperson from VW disclosed: “These specific communications – both of the issue and the relevant steps to take – with all of our affected customers were felt to be more effective than a statement on a website.”
He added: “Given the limited circumstances in which the seatbelt can (in the test conditions) come unbuckled, and the employment of the interim fix and further still the specific warnings provided to users, there is no materially increased risk. It is on that basis that sales continued.”