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Rivian Recalling 502 Electric Trucks Over Potentially Faulty Air Bags


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Automotive Inc. is recalling 502 battery-powered pickup trucks over potentially faulty air bags that could pose a safety risk to children in the front passenger seat.

In a filing dated Tuesday with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Rivian said it had discovered that the front passenger air bag may not perform properly in the event of a crash due to a calibration error in the seat assembly.

The recall—the company’s first, according to NHTSA data—covers 2022 Rivian R1T pickups built between late September of 2021 and early April 2022 at the company’s factory in Normal, Ill., the filing said.

The car company said that it isn’t aware of any accidents or injuries related to the seat assembly defect and that it will replace the passenger seat in the affected vehicles free of charge. Rivian didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rivian, a California-based car manufacturer, launched production of its first models—the R1T pickup and R1S sport-utility vehicle—in the fall and has been straining to meet demand, after encountering problems at its factory getting parts.

While recalls are commonplace in the auto industry, this particular campaign comes at a sensitive time for the young company, which is trying to build brand awareness and break into a highly competitive market dominated by well-established car companies. The recall also represents a significant portion of Rivian’s production so far, and car companies typically shoulder the cost of making recall repairs.

As of May 9, the company said it had built 5,000 vehicles since starting production in September, a figure that includes the R1T truck, as well as the SUV and an electric delivery van.

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The company first identified problems with the seat assembly in March, finding that sensors designed to detect whether a child or a child seat was in the front passenger seat didn’t work properly, the filing said.

Rivian said the defect originated during manufacturing of the seat assembly by a supplier and later determined that it was a calibration issue that may cause the sensors to perform inconsistently. For instance, in some circumstances, the passenger seat belt notification may chime when the seat is empty, the filing said.

Write to Ryan Felton at [email protected]

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