Nissan Recalls Over 400,000 Cars For A Flaw That Turns An Airbag Into A Potentially Fatal “Missile”

Nissan recalled 400,000 vehicles due to the risk of an emblem detaching during airbag deployment. The affected models are 2008-2011 Frontiers, Xterras, Pathfinders, and Armadas as well as 2008-2009 Quests.

By Tori Hook | Updated

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Long a favorite of both families and businesses, Nissan vehicles are a mainstay of the automotive industry. Many people value Nissan not only for its unique style and commitment to environmentally-friendly vehicles, but also for the affordability and safety of its vehicles. That reputation is on the line after a Nissan recall was announced, affecting over 400,000 vehicles.

According to Consumer Affairs, the Nissan recall has less to do with the function of the vehicle itself and more to do with the tiny Nissan emblem on the driver’s airbag. Emblems within and outside of vehicles are not an uncommon practice for auto manufacturers; even when they become loose, they still pose no risk to drivers or passengers. Some of Nissan’s emblems, though, could detach during airbag deployment, shooting the resin emblem toward drivers, passengers, or other parts of the vehicle at great force.

The emblem increases the risk of injury or fatality in the event of a car crash, a risk Nissan doesn’t want to take. Though the Nissan recall is public, the remedy for owners of the affected vehicles has not been determined. The company has said that initial letters should be mailed to owners of the affected vehicles by April 10, informing them of the risk.

Nissan vehicles have long been considered some of the safest and most reliable in the market, a status which may be in jeopardy after such a huge recall. The affected vehicles include the 2008-2011 Frontier, Xterra, Pathfinder, and Armada, as well as 2008-2009 Quests. These vehicles are often used by families, who value safety above all else when purchasing a vehicle. Buyers may be more hesitant to trust these models after the Nissan recall.

Depending on Nissan’s solution for fixing or compensating buyers for the risky vehicles, the Nissan recall could cost the company millions of dollars, a hard hit in a time when automobile sales are low, thanks to inflation. Nissan only just made its way back into the black last year, after suffering through the semiconductor crises and the pandemic. A recall is not what the company, just back at the starting line, needed to continue its trajectory of success.

The Nissan recall also comes in the wake of the company’s announcement that they will invest $600 million to make six new models in India, in an alliance with Renault SA. According to Reuters, this investment will fund the development and production of two electric vehicles and four SUVs. The investment is significant for both the Indian car market, which has overtaken Japan to become the third-largest in the world, and for the future of electric vehicles.

Future vehicles will likely be affected by the Nissan recall, especially in terms of emblem production and placement. Auto industry sales went up 23 percent in India last year, so Nissan’s investment may just overshadow the recall when it comes to profit and cost. Owners of the affected Nissan vehicles can expect initial letters from the company in March and follow-up letters once a solution has been established.