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Volkswagen warns owners not to use rear middle seats in some models after tests found seat belts can unbuckle themselves

  • The Seat Arona, Seat Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo are all at risk of the defect
  • According to testers – the rear seat belts can come undone at high speed 
  • Volkswagen said it would be contacting customers over the seat belt issue
  • The manufacturer also said it would be initiating a recall for affected models 

Thousands of Volkswagens are at risk of a potentially deadly fault which causes seat belts to malfunction during high speed maneuvers – according to the manufacturer.

Finnish automotive magazine Tekniikan Maailma carried out a series of tests which found that the VW-made Seat Arona, Seat Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo were all at risk of the defect.

According to the testers, the middle belt buckle, which is mounted slightly higher than the one to its left can come undone when turning left at high speeds.

They found that a sharp movement, such as changing lanes or swerving sharply can pushes one buckle onto the other – releasing the belt from its holder. 

 

The Volkswagen Polo mk. 6 (pictured) is one of the models affected by the rear seat safety belt defects

The Volkswagen Polo mk. 6 (pictured) is one of the models affected by the rear seat safety belt defects

The Seat Ibiza, which shares a number of parts with its VW equivalent, was also said to be affected

The Seat Ibiza, which shares a number of parts with its VW equivalent, was also said to be affected

A VW spokesman has confirmed to Autocar that it is aware of the issue and said the brand 'will provide a technical solution shortly and recall the vehicles concerned'.

The Finnish testers said it happened on numerous occasions within each model as they tested several of the same type to make sure it wasn't an isolated fault.

'According to our judgement, the unlatching is caused by a design fault,' Tekniikan Maailma said in a statement.

'The easiest fix for the problem would be either to shorten or lengthen the attaching belt of the middle buckle by a couple of centimetres.'

VW's spokesman said that its recall will be 'carried out in co-operation with the national vehicle registration authorities, who also approve the safety recall measures.

'As an immediate action, we will inform customers and advise not to have passengers use the middle rear seat of current Polo models (Mk6) until the cars have been equipped with the redesigned belt lock fixture.'

Seat has also confirmed that it has found the same issue during new tests of the Arona and Ibiza. A spokesman for the brand said: 'We're working on possible solutions for it and will inform you about the final decision as soon as possible.'

The rear seat belts in models like the Seat Arona were found to come undone during high speed maneuvers 

The rear seat belts in models like the Seat Arona were found to come undone during high speed maneuvers 

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Journalist, writer and broadcaster, based in London and Paris, her latest book is Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English. Read more articles from Agnes.

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