Nissan, which lately has been advertising its spate of models redesigned for 2013, has just recalled a bunch of them.
The cause is a potentially faulty sensor that could cause the front passenger airbag to fail to deploy in a crash. The sensor is supposed to enable the bag if the seat is occupied, disable the bag if it is not.
According to documents posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. the recall covers certain of Nissan's redesigned 2013 Altima mid-size sedan, the Pathfinder crossover SUV and the Sentra compact. Altima is Nissan's volume model, with 49,189 sold through February this year, according to Autodata.
Also covered are certain of the 2013 Nissan Leaf electric car and the Infiniti luxury unit's JX35 crossover SUV, a new product just introduced in 2012.
The problem involved a supplier for the sensor that changed a manufacturing process that caused the part not to be up to specifications. If it malfunctions it could permanently disable the bag. The number of vehicles that might have gotten a bad sensor and the dates they were built still are being determined, the documents say.
Nissan discovered the problem because of warranty claims and bag warning lights illuminated in some cars at Nissan's Tennessee plant.
Owners will be notified next month and dealers will inspect the sensor and replace it if necessary.
Fred Meier, USA TODAY