2019 Subaru Ascent Recall

Subaru has recalled 293 of its 2019 Ascent SUVs because they may be missing key spot welds on the B-pillar, which holds the second-row door hinges, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The problem affects fewer than 1 percent of the Ascents built and was caused by improper software programming for the welding robots, Subaru said. It's very rare—but not unheard of—for an automaker to replace a vehicle outright instead of repairing it.

Of the potentially affected vehicles, just nine were sold, Subaru said. The others were either on dealer lots or in transit.

A Subaru spokesman told CR that “if some of the spot welds around the B-pillar were missed, the strength of the vehicle’s body may be reduced, potentially increasing the risk of injury in the event of a crash."

"This is why we are replacing the vehicles and not repairing,” he said.

On July 21, Subaru discovered the problem during a routine inspection of a new Ascent and was able to narrow down the build dates involved, NHTSA said. The agency doesn't list any reports of injuries or crashes.

The automaker has ordered dealers not to sell the affected models, which were produced from July 13 through July 21, 2018. But not all Ascents built during that time period are missing the key welds.

Dealers can identify the problem models by checking the vehicle identification number (VIN). Drivers will not be able to see if the welds are missing. 

Consumer Reports recommends that Ascent owners check their VIN online immediately via Subaru or NHTSA.gov. When in doubt, ask your local dealership to verify.

Subaru said it will notify affected owners this month. The Ascent purchased by CR for testing was built before this period and has almost reached the 2,000-mile break-in milestone, after which formal testing will begin.

There have been two other recalls in recent memory that involved potential vehicle replacement.

In February 2017, nine 2017 Jaguar XFs were recalled for a potential cracked sill panel that could result in fuel lines leaking. And in May 2018, several Volkswagen models were recalled because of modifications made during an internal evaluation that may cause them to be out of regulatory compliance. This has an impact on 252 Eos, Golf, GTI, Passat, Tiguan, and Touareg models.  

The Details

Vehicles recalled: 293 of the 2019 Subaru Ascent built from July 13 through July 21, 2018.

The problem: The SUVs may be missing spot welds on or around the B-pillar. Without those welds, the vehicle's body strength may be compromised.

The fix: Subaru will not repair these vehicles. Instead, the automaker will replace them and destroy the flawed SUVs.

How to contact the manufacturer: Owners can contact Subaru customer service at 844-373-6614.

NHTSA campaign number: 18V-508. Subaru's number for this recall is WTU-80.

Check to see whether your vehicle has an open recall: Plug in the 17-digit vehicle identification number at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. It will tell you whether your vehicle has any open recalls that need to be addressed.

CR members can stay up to date on car recalls using our Car Recall Tracker