Warren, Mich. – April 30, 2018 – General Motors has recalled more than 8,700 vehicles potentially equipped with defective seat belt assemblies, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2018 Buick Regal sedans produced between June 9, 2017, and Feb. 22, 2018. GM suspects that 1 percent of the recalled models actually contain the defective parts.
Affected vehicles contain rear outboard seats with improperly routed seat belts. Consequently, these safety features may not adequately restrain occupants in the event of an accident, leaving them open to injury. However, the automaker has yet to receive reports connecting the defective components to any accidents or injuries.
Timeline of Events
On Jan. 16, 2018, engineers at the Opel Russelsheim assembly plant in Russelsheim, Germany discovered a 2018 Buick Regal sedan with improperly routed seat belts while conducting post-production testing. The personnel who identified the defect notified their superiors Jan. 22, 2018, through the Speak Up for Safety program. The GM Safety and Compliance Categorization Team reviewed the matter Feb. 15, 2018, and launched a field monitoring initiative. Seven days later, GM implemented new production methods at the Opel Russelsheim facility to ensure assembly teams properly routed rear seat belts.
GM engineers at the Milford Proving Ground in Milford, Michigan uncovered another vehicle with the rear seat belt routing issue March 1, 2018. They too filed a SUFS report. One week later, GM connected with technical stakeholders for Opel, one of its European subsidiaries, and discussed the misrouted seat belts it engineers had found in multiple 2018 Buick Regal sedans. Opel dealt with the same problem earlier in the year and had issued a voluntary recall to address it. This meeting prompted GM to initiate an internal investigation, which led the GM Safety Field Action Decision Authority to call for an official recall on April 5, 2018.
GM notified dealers of the forthcoming action April 12, 2018.
The automaker has directed dealers to correct the routing of the outboard rear seat belt assemblies installed in affected vehicles free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. GM intends to notify owners June 5, 2018. Those in need of assistance prior to the start of the recall can contact GM customer service by calling (800) 521-7300. Callers should use the internal recall identification number 18117. Owners can also reach out to the NHTSA directly using the agency’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.