The government agency has 26 complaints about possible faults with the Occupant Detection System for the front passenger seat, and this is the sensor that decides whether a person is an adult, petite, child seat or some other object and adjusts the deployment of the airbag accordingly. However, these reports allege that it was incorrectly turned off when someone was in the vehicle, which caused the airbag not to activate. Subaru put out a Technical Service Bulletin in May 2012 that attempted to address a similar problem.
For now, this investigation is classified as a preliminary evaluation and is gathering more data about the potential problem to "assess the scope, frequency, and consequence," according to NHTSA.
Date Investigation Opened: APR 10, 2015
Date Investigation Closed: Open
NHTSA Action Number: PE15012
Component(s): AIR BAGS
All Products Associated with this Investigation
Vehicle Make Model Model Year(s)
SUBARU IMPREZA 2012
Manufacturer: Subaru of America, Inc.
The Office of Defects Investigation has received 26 Vehicle Owner Questionnaire reports involving the passenger frontal air bag in MY 2012 Subaru Impreza vehicles. These vehicles use a capacitive type Occupant Detection System, which is intended to classify the occupant of the passenger seat as either full sized, small stature, a child seat or other object. The reports allege that the Occupant Detection System, failed to operate properly and incorrectly suppressed (turned off) the front passenger air bag when the seat was occupied. In a frontal crash sufficient to warranty deployment, a suppressed air bag may increase the risk of injury to the occupant of the seat.
Additionally, ODI notes that Subaru published a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) No. 17-16-12 on May 29, 2012 to address conditions with the Occupant Detection System that can lead to suppression of the passenger air bag when the passenger seat is occupied.
ODI is opening this this investigation to assess the scope, frequency, and consequence of incorrect air bag suppression and any connection that may exists to the TSB. The ODI reports cited above can be reviewed at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchSafetyIssues under the following (ODI) identification numbers: 10672345, 10668512, 10668243, 10662987, 10641835, 10640574, 10626384, 10622234, 10621456, 10619273, 10605789, 10604506, 10575908, 10559081, 10557856, 10556661, 10545059, 10538562, 10532118, 10481308, 10478660, 10473662, 10472608, 10470865, 10468157, 10463432.