Ford directs some owners of recalled F-150 pickup to not drive vehicle with seat belt defect

WASHINGTON — Ford Motor Co. is directing some owners of the 2021 F-150 pickup — the nation’s bestselling vehicle — to not drive their vehicles if the driver-side seat belt fails a self-inspection test, U.S. vehicle safety regulators said Thursday.

The automaker is recalling 16,430 F-150s in the U.S. manufactured with the SuperCab body style. The front seat belt webbing on those vehicles may be incorrectly routed and, therefore, may not adequately restrain an occupant in a crash, according to a NHTSA document.

The affected vehicles were manufactured between Jan. 2 and May 27. Ford’s Regular Cab and Crew Cab body styles use a different seat belt assembly and are not part of the recall, NHTSA said.

Ford, as of Monday, is not aware of any reports of accident or injury related to this condition. The automaker did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Vehicle owners will be notified starting Sept. 27. The notification will include instructions on how to check the seat belts for improper assembly on both the driver and passenger sides of the vehicle.

Dealers also will inspect the seat belts to verify they are routed correctly through the anchor’s metal eyelet and anchored to the pretensioner assembly, NHTSA said. If the inspection fails, the dealer will replace the affected parts.

Joyson Safety Systems makes the seat belt assemblies. The supplier, formerly known as Key Safety Systems, purchased defunct airbag maker Takata Corp. in 2018. Joyson is based in Auburn Hills, Mich., and is a subsidiary of China’s Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp.

Joyson has been dealing with seat belt safety issues in recent months.

At Joyson’s Japan unit, an investigation that began in October 2020 showed test data on seat belt webbing were doctored at plants in Hikone, Japan, and the Philippines to meet legal and client standards at two plants, according to a Reuters report in June.

A Joyson spokesperson on Thursday said the Ford recall is unrelated to the investigation in Japan.

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