According to a report from The Detroit News, a production problem during the seat steaming process could cause "a calibration error in the electronic control module." In turn, that would cause an issue with the Automatic Occupant Sensing system.
The AOS is a crucial element, as it looks at the weight on the front seat to determine whether the airbags should be armed or not. According to a bulletin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a problem with the system could mean that the airbags deploy when they shouldn't, such as when there's a child or infant seat mounted in front.
The problem is limited to 2014 and 2015 models that have both heated and vented front seats. Owners will be asked to report to dealers for a free recalibration and ECU reset. Scroll down for the official bulletin from NHTSA.
NHTSA Campaign Number: 15V465000
Component(s): AIR BAGS
Manufacturer: General Motors LLC
General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain model year 2014-2015 Chevrolet Impala vehicles manufactured April 15, 2013, to June 19, 2015, equipped with front vented-heated passenger seats. Accordingly, the Automatic Occupant Sensing (AOS) system may fail to suppress the front passenger air bag if a child seat is in the front passenger seat. These vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 208, "Occupant Crash Protection."
If the front passenger air bag deploys with a child seat in the front passenger seat, it increases the risk of injury to the child.
GM will notify owners, and dealers will correct the calibration-learning error by preconditioning the empty seat, and also resetting the ECU to a seat zero-value, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020. GM's number for this recall is 15400.
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.