Thousands of Volkswagen cars sold with 'potentially lethal' seat belt fault , according to Which?

Jessica Clark
Follow Jessica
Volkswagen Senior Directors Meet For Crisis Talks As Emissions Scandal Widens
Source: Getty

Thousands of Volkswagen cars with a "potentially lethal" seat belt fault were sold to customers following the discovery of the issue, a consumer group has claimed.

In May an investigation by a Finnish car magazine found that the centre-rear seatbelt failed when the back seats were full and the vehicle turned sharply.

Volkswagen sold nearly 55,000 of the potentially faulty cars following the discovery, according to consumer group Which?, prompting criticism on how the manufacturing giant handled the issue.

Alex Neill, Which? Home products and services managing director, said: “VW’s handling of this potentially lethal safety issue has been completely unsatisfactory.

"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.

“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.”

Around 75,000 owners are now affected in total, the consumer group said.

UK customers with VW Polo, Seat Ibiza and Arona cars will be offered a fix on Monday, the BBC reported.

"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," a VW spokesperson told the broadcaster.

"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."

City A.M. has contacted Volkswagen for comment.