NHTSA has opened a preliminary evaluation into 2016-18 model-year Subaru Forester crossovers after receiving 51 complaints about the front passenger airbag detection system.
The safety agency's Office of Defects Investigation, in a document filed Aug. 6, said the vehicles' occupant detection system has incorrectly turned off the front passenger airbag while the seat was occupied, according to complaints. The open evaluation covers an estimated 553,692 vehicles, according to NHTSA.
NHTSA said a suppressed airbag may increase the risk of injury in situations where a front crash warrants airbag deployment.
Subaru of America spokesman Dominick Infante told Automotive News on Monday that there have been no reports of injuries or fatalities related to the issue.
Subaru of America is fully cooperating with NHTSA on the preliminary evaluation, he said.
"We ask that if any customers have an issue where an airbag warning light illuminates, please bring the vehicle to a local retailer as soon as possible," Infante said.