VW recalls 12,000 cars over faulty seatbelt that could burst open at high speed

Volkswagen has recalled 12,000 new cars after fears over a faulty seat belt.

And the same fault has been found in some Seat models too.

Independent tests by Finnish car magazine Tekniikan Maailma found that when all three rear seat belts are in use and the car is driven at speed, the far-left one could come undone, leaving passengers in that position unsecured.

It is a big concern for parents as car seats are often fitted behind the driver.

The Volkswagen Group, which owns both brands, has confirmed the issue in its own tests.

The cars that are affected are the new 2018 Polo, on sale since January and the Seat Arona and Seat Ibiza – although the exact Seat models are yet to be confirmed.

British charity and consumer watchdog Which? highlighted the issue.

Which? cars and motoring editor Lisa Barber said: "While we wait for confirmation, be aware that the problem discovered by the Finnish magazine Tekniikan Maailma was caused by all three back seat belts being used at the same time.

"So if you own any of these three cars, avoid using it in this way until we find out more.

"We particularly want to make sure that parents who use a child car seat that’s secured with a seat belt are aware of the potential risk."

A spokesman from the Volkswagen Group said: "Based on the analysis made at our factory, we have identified the seat belt issue that Tekniikan Maailma has found in its tests.

"At Volkswagen, safety remains a main priority and we immediately reacted to solve the issue.

"As a consequence, a feasible technical solution has been identified.

"Volkswagen is now waiting for the concerned authorities’ final validation in order to implement it, both on the customers’ cars and on the future series production."

Volkswagen added it will be sending letters to owners over the next few weeks to arrange for a new middle belt lock to be fitted to rectify the problem. This will be free of charge.

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