Subaru recalls 271,000 U.S. vehicles for fire risks, urges drivers to park outside

A Subaru logo is displayed at the Tokyo Motor Show, in Tokyo, Japan
A Subaru logo is displayed at the Tokyo Motor Show, in Tokyo, Japan October 23, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun/File Photo

Dec 13 (Reuters) - Subaru (9778.T) on Tuesday said it was recalling 271,000 Ascent sport utility vehicles with model years between 2019 to 2022 due to increased fire risks and urged owners to park their vehicles outside until repairs are completed.

The Japanese automaker said owners should park away from structures and avoid leaving vehicles unattended while the engine is running. Subaru said a wiring connection may have a production-related defect that can cause a fire while the heater is in operation because excessive heat could result in

melting the ground terminal and surrounding components.

There have been two fires but no injuries or crashes have been reported. Subaru dealers will replace heater ground bolts and if needed replace the ground wire and the connector holder.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said until the recall is completed, owners should park vehicles outdoors. If an owner notices or smells smoke coming from the dash or driver’s footwell area, they should immediately stop the vehicle and turn the ignition off.

Subaru said in early 2020 it introduced air tools to the production line replacing a battery tool. Also in 2020 it received the first technical report of an Ascent exhibiting smoke from the cabin and received the first fire damage report in September 2021 and then received a report in 2022 of a vehicle damaged by fire that was produced after the tool change.

Subaru said "out of an abundance of caution, Subaru decided to conduct a voluntary safety recall."

The recall issue was corrected in production on April 29, 2022 with an updated tightening tool to prevent incomplete tightening, Subaru said.

Reporting by David Shepardson Editing by Mark Potter and Aurora Ellis

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