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GM Recalls Almost 500,000 Full-Size SUVs Over Supplier's Manufacturing Issue

On May 14th, a dealership received a customer-submitted report of a third-row seatbelt buckle assembly that separated in a Suburban. The district service manager submitted this condition to the safety boffins at GM on May 18th, and an investigation was opened on May 31st.
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Seven additional reports were identified in the field, reports that General Motors received between October 2020 and June 2022. Reading between the lines, the biggest of the Big Three in Detroit preferred to close its eyes and hope for the best instead of starting an investigation in October 2020.

The Detroit-based automaker concluded that “operators at the seatbelt buckle assembly supplier’s manufacturing plant may have not properly followed manufacturing processes and inadvertently missed the rivet forming operation.” The supplier of the third-row seatbelt buckle assembly is ZF Occupant Safety Systems from Gomez Palacio, Mexico.

ZF Passive Safety US Inc, which is also based in Gomez Palacio, supplied the Ford Motor Company with side-curtain airbags that may not meet the requirements of federal motor vehicle safety standard 226. A grand total of 64,974 examples of the Maverick pickup truck are called back stateside.

GM and ZF Occupant Safety Systems met on July 11th to determine the scope of the faulty assemblies. On August 4th, the Safety Field Action Decision Authority didn’t have a choice but decide on a recall. No fewer than 484,155 full-size SUVs are called back, of which two percent are believed to exhibit the issue. That’s 9,683 SUVs if the estimate is correct.

The vehicles in question are split between the regular-wheelbase Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Cadillac Escalade and their long-wheelbase siblings that are marketed under the Suburban, Yukon XL, and Escalade ESV monikers. Both 2021 and 2022 models are potentially affected, vehicles that were manufactured between November 11th, 2019 and May 27th this year.

If the third-row seatbelt assembly is not riveted according to specification, it may not properly restrain occupants in a crash, increasing the risk of injury. The supplier initiated containment efforts on May 18th, revising their manufacturing process by adding an optical scan confirmation of the rivet head formation. Owners will be notified by first-class mail on September 26th to bring their SUVs in for new third-row seatbelt buckle assemblies.

 Download: GM full-size SUV seatbelt buckle recall (PDF)


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