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Volkswagen recalling vehicles over seatbelt issues

Volkswagen AG is recalling certain cars due to technical issues with the rear seatbelt lock mechanism, the company said in a statement May 11.

The German carmaker is recalling about 220,000 new Polo cars in the coming weeks, while its Spanish Seat brand is recalling 191,000 vehicles, according to a Reuters report May 11.

The carmaker said a defective rear left seatbelt could be unintentionally released in some rare situations, such as a sudden lane change, and when the rear center seat and the rear left seat are occupied at the same time. The scenario was identified in dynamic tests of Finland-based motoring media outlet Tekniikan Maailma with the Volkswagen Polo, a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

"Volkswagen is now waiting for the concerned authorities' final validation in order to implement it, both on the vehicles already delivered to customers and on the future series production," the spokesperson said.

The 2017 and 2018 models of the Seat brand's Ibiza car and the 2018 model of its Arona vehicle are also affected.

Volkswagen said in a statement that safety remains a main priority for the company and that it "has identified a technical solution: a redesigned belt lock fixture, which will prevent this from happening."

The check and the implementation of the belt lock fixture would be free of cost for the affected vehicles. The global recall is limited to markets where Polo cars are sold and where the Seat brand does business, according to the Reuters report.

Volkswagen and Seat advised their customers not to use the middle seat of the affected models until they are equipped with the redesigned belt lock fixture.

Another Volkswagen-owned brand, Audi AG, recently discovered irregularities in the engine-management software of V6 diesel engines used in nearly 60,000 cars of A6 and A7 models shipped worldwide.