By on August 15, 2018

2019 Subaru Ascent

A recall serious enough to necessitate the replacement of a car is rare, but Subaru should be glad it caught the problem before more faulty vehicles left the factory.

Over the course of eight days in July, 293 Ascents from the 2019 model year made it off the assembly line while potentially missing a full complement of welds — hardly something the automaker can just go back and touch up.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, key spot welds on the midsize crossover’s B-pillar may have been missed, all thanks to an improperly programmed welding robot. As robots don’t program themselves (and thank goodness for that), we can chalk this issue up to human error.

Of the 293 vehicles recalled by Subaru, only nine found their way to owners. The rest, Subaru says, were either in transit or sitting on dealer lots. A stop-sale order covers those vehicles.

“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,” a Subaru spokesman told Consumer Reports. “This is why we are replacing the vehicles and not repairing.”

The automaker discovered the issue during an inspection of a new Ascent on July 21st. Not all of the 293 vehicles left the factory without key welds, Subaru claims. Regardless, recall notices hit mailboxes this month. If you suspect you could be among the unlucky nine, punch your VIN into NHTSA.gov to see if your new Ascent stands to gain an odometer rollback (of sorts).

It could be an opportunity to change that paint color you have mixed feelings about.

[Image: © 2018 Matthew Guy/TTAC]

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57 Comments on “Because Subaru Can’t Turn Back Time, Some Owners Stand to Gain a New Ascent...”


  • avatar

    They shouldn’t have hired all those gypsies, tramps, and thieves to build them.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Nice of em’ to do the right thing here and start over. I am hopeful, since it is only nine, Subaru won’t go through any stupid gyrations of how many miles said owner put on their Ascent and to try and come up a with a depreciation figure. Just swap them out, apologize and give them a fresh tank of gas….

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      It was likely a financial decision. Coordinate non-straightforward field repairs across the country or just replace the darn things? With only nine vehicles in question, the latter may be less expensive. Goodwill is a bonus.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    I can’t believe that Volkswagen got through their emissions fraud without vehicles replacements….

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Subaru! Love to death!

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    That Ascent has about 8,000 miles – maybe – of towing that Airstream, before the transmissions pukes its metal and plastic shards all,over the road.

    Gotta love marketing!

  • avatar

    Agree with you there. You don’t want to do any regular towing with anything heavy in one of these. I’m guessing the CVT from the Outback will already be stressed enough with the additional weight.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      My aunt and uncle were towing an Airstream with a Hyundai Santa Fe. I told them that it was not wise. After it lunched its transmission they wised up and purchased an F250.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        Two things worth noting:

        1. I bought a 2007 Jeep Patriot to tow a 3200 lb boat. I towed it for about 80k miles and it worked wonders before I sold it. I know now that was stupid as the car is only rated to 1500 lbs.. but I had the CVT with the lower gearing on the offroad version, and when I bought the car new from a dealer, I listened to the dealers BS about how the CVT is wonderful about towing because it operates in peak torque.

        he wasn’t wrong. That thing towed that boat like a dream.

        Durability is a whole different story, and again- I’m aware what I did was stupid, but at the time I didn’t know any better because I just listened to the salesman. thats also stupid.

        2. Secondly, my wife and I are seriously considering a Santa Fe to pull our travel trailer. We like the Santa Fe because it can tow 5000 lbs, where many of its competitors can only tow less. We still have the 3200 lb boat and we have a 4500-4800 (wet and
        fully loaded) camper. I used to have an F350, but it seemed like overkill to have such a big truck to pull a 5000 lb load, so we sold it, and bought a Porsche cayenne (tows 7200 lbs). The Cayenne tows wonderfully anything we throw at it (even our 7000 lb race trailer we sold), but we wanted a little bit larger of a car. The Santa Fe has a longer wheel base so it should be a bit more stable, although we never had an real issues with the cayenne.

        Why was that not wise? it seems like the smart move to us… good fuel economy, AWD, strong engine, and good warranty?

        • 0 avatar
          indi500fan

          You need a Tahoe…that what those are made for.

        • 0 avatar
          Chuck Norton

          arach-

          I own a 2017 Santa FE XL and a pickup truck as well as a 29 foot travel trailer. Had some friends buy a Santa Fe for their 3,500 pound travel trailer.

          They now own an F150 to tow their trailer. You do not want a Santa Fe to tow anything of any size.

          The non-towers will chime in-so let me say I have towed my trailer well over 15,000 miles-so I know what I’m talking about.

          • 0 avatar
            arach

            Very good to know, Thanks for your opinion.

            She liked the Durango too, but I don’t trust FCA… But Maybe the Durango is the right option. I know it has no problem with the heavy loads.

            Too bad though. I have a Hyundai Sonata and its my favorite car I’ve ever owned.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          They were too close to the limit. They were fine towing their Airstream around flat Michigan. Once they got out west it was a nightmare. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t tow with a Santa Fe. It can be a decent rig for smaller trailers. Just don’t get near its limit and add more challenging terrain.

          I tow my boat with a Lincoln MkT. However, I never tow my boat more than 25 miles, over 55 mph, or up any significant hill. Usually it is only the few miles from storage to the boat launch in May and back in September.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Adam nailed it.

            There is a MASSIVE difference between towing in the flatlands versus a play such as Colorado or Utah.

            I’ve driven the roads leading to Bryce, Zion, near Mt. Evans (where vehicles look like they are driving through molasses) etc., and it literally feels like one needs 2x to 3x the horsepower and torque to even keep from stalling.

            If you tow often or heavy things, no amount of horsepower or torque (or cooling system efficieny) will ever feel like it’s enough in mountainous terrain.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    These Ascents must have been built in a tent.

  • avatar
    salmonmigration

    How do you miss a spot weld? Did the robots have a sick kid that day?

    Or is Subaru in production hell and building cars by hand in a tent?

    • 0 avatar
      FerrariLaFerrariFace

      Maybe read the rest of the article?

      “all thanks to an improperly programmed welding robot. As robots don’t program themselves (and thank goodness for that), we can chalk this issue up to human error.”

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The robots didn’t miss the welds. Their computer controls weren’t programmed to make the welds. The day after computers were invented, GIGO was coined: garbage in, garbage out.

  • avatar
    zamoti

    This thing looks like a capybara. A fat one.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    I’m still baffled about the fact that a model name that sounds like arse scent made it past the approval board.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    If this had happened to Tesla, the automotive press would have their pants around their ankles.
    Subaru gets a loving chiding and a “keep up the good work.”

    Amazing what keeping your CEO off Twitter will do for you.

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Great, at least they are not pretending nothing is happening. Hence, toyota for rusted frame and gas pedal issues and mazda for rust and skyactiv carbon build up.
    Yes, this does sound a bit ridiculous missing build welds. And good they are not pretending it did not happen.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Not pretending like when they were paying people out 150% book value on Tacomas, right?

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        How long did that take.again?

      • 0 avatar
        VW4motion

        @gtem,150% book value on Tacoma’s? Which is a lie.
        And how many sold their POS Toyota’s due to lack of responsibility from Toyota before a class action lawsuit?
        Glass houses ?!?

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          @VW

          Do I really have to spoonfeed you this stuff?

          https://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/07/toyota-offers-to-buy-back-rusty-tacomas/

          Google is just a click away buddy.

          Now let’s talk about the endemic and serious engine issues that VAG has brushed under the rug for years on the original 1.8Ts, the oil burning and cam follower eating 2.0Ts, the chain stretching 3.2s, etc. In relative terms Toyota handled the frame replacement/buyback recall with aplomb.

          Art as far as I can tell the buybacks started around 2008, 13 years after the first “1995.5” Tacomas went on sale and 4 years after the last first gen (2004) truck was sold, I don’t know when the first cases of rotted frames started to appear but 13 years in the salt belt sounds about right.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      No, they are pretending. I am yet to see commercial that says, “Sorry folks, we forgot to weld your car.” They all say, “Because its love”

      • 0 avatar
        VW4motion

        Or a commercial that says “ sorry folks we didn’t test your engine after 100,000 miles or do any type of testing in salt or corrosive type areas of the world.”
        Like I this is extremely poor quality control. But they are at least replacing the vehicles and not pretending that their is nothing wrong. Unlike other auto makers.

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Zaitcev

      There was no “gas pedal issue”. Completely bogus.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Malcolm Gladwell produced an interesting episode of his Revisionist History podcast on that issue and came to that conclusion as well. Although Toyota critics can just redirect the snipes to Toyota owners instead, which should come naturally to them.

        This graph shows how the complaints spiked after the high profile crash that started the ball rolling:

        https://www.caranddriver.com/features/its-all-your-fault-the-dot-renders-its-verdict-on-toyotas-unintended-acceleration-scare-feature

        And don’t layer the floormats.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        Toyota had real issues with early DBW throttle systems around 05. I know because my 05 Camry used to apply heavy throttle on its own at stoplights with my foot firmly on the brake pedal nowhere near the accelerator pedal.

        I went to the dealer 4 times before calling their regional corporate and they finally replaced some parts but they refused to tell me what was going on, in any case after the repair the self-surge was gone. Years later I heard about the other cars having issues and while I know in some cases it’s driver error, the mid-2000s Toyotas did have real with the DBW throttle system. My best guess was a part defect or assembly error that introduced a short or debris that created false signals to the ECU indicating throttle was being applied when I wasn’t on the accelerator pedal at all.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    No, it is here, here, here, here, here, and here. Not here here here here here here!

  • avatar

    How nobody mentioned Ford yet? DW?

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Since we’re talking about Subaru here, can anyone fill me in on the latest “rod knock” troubles running around Subaru?

    • 0 avatar
      VW4motion

      Rod knock is caused by a severe failure of one or more crankshaft connecting rod bearings. Repairs require engine removal and complete disassembly at significant expense. The most common cause is lack of engine oil, this is usually the first part in an engine to fail when it runs out of oil.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Ryoku75 – How about a website or reference to this. First I’ve heard of it.

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