In an expansion of an earlier recall effort in Canada, reported here on Car Deal Expert, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced the U.S. recall of a small number of 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric subcompact hatchbacks — a.k.a. the Mitsubishi i. The recall is over the deployment of the curtain and side impact airbags.
261 Mitsubishi i-MiEV units affects
Mitsubishi is targeting only 261 units in the U.S. Some of the cars may have compatibility issues between the airbag sensors and the self-diagnostic software used in the Safety Restraint System. The issue may cause the SRS warning light to illuminate during a diagnostic check.
If the vehicle is in motion while the light is lit, the Japanese automaker says, the side impact airbags may not inflate; or the front airbag may inflate only after a delay, negating its usefulness. That could further exacerbate the chance of injuries or death.
However, the automaker points out that it knows of no accidents, injuries or deaths caused by the problem as of this time.
The affected vehicles were built between Nov. 4, 2011 and Dec. 22, 2011.
More than half recalled
The size of the recall may seem small to some. Nevertheless, it represents more than half of the 350 i-MiEVs sold in the U.S.
The i-MiEV has not been well-received in the U.S., either by consumers or critics. “Consumer Reports” called it “crude and uncomfortable” and prone to causing “range anxiety” because of its inconsistency in range miles clocked per battery charge.
However, potential buyers may find it easier to get a car loan for the i-MiEV than for other so-called “green” models. At $29125, it has the lowest price tag of any EV currently available in the U.S., aside from used car sales.
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The fix and contact
A this point, no date has been announced for the recall campaign to begin. However, affected owners will be notified to take their i-MiEV to a certified dealer to have the incompatible airbag sensors replaced at no cost.
For more information on the effort, you can call the automaker at 1-800-222-0037.
Previous recall, origins
Earlier this week, Mitsubishi issued a recall of 49 i-MiEVs from the model year 2012 in Canada for the same issue. At that time, the automotive press predicted that the effort would soon move south of the border.
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV began its life as the the Smart Forfour. It was produced in Europe between 2004 and 2006 in a collaborative effort between Mitsubishi and DaimlerChrysler. When the two companies had a parting of ways, DaimlerChrysler took ownership of the original Smart Car. Mitsubishi got the larger Smart ForFour. The U.S. version of the i-MiEV was first seen at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show.