WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded and expanded an investigation into an estimated 360,000 2013-'14 Nissan Versa sedans and 2014 Nissan Versa Note hatchbacks for pedal operation interference.
"Drivers describe incidents of interference between the tunnel carpet cover trim panel and the driver's right shoe when attempting to release the accelerator pedal, allegedly resulting in brief incidents of unwanted acceleration or delayed brake application," said NHTSA in its problem description.
Federal safety regulators say they have received 24 complaints and know of one crash that led to minor injuries to the driver.
"Nissan is cooperating fully to answer the agency's questions and is offering to trim the panel at no charge upon customer request," wrote Steve Yaeger, a Nissan spokesman, in response to a query from Edmunds.
NHTSA said it also has received complaints from consumers alleging that the HVAC relay actuator/duct can also interfere with the driver's ability to react quickly to apply the brakes. This "has been added to the scope" of the investigation, it said.
The probe has been upgraded to an "engineering analysis," but the vehicles have not been recalled at this point.
Last June, NHTSA said it was initially investigating the 2012 Versa and Versa Note. But the 2012 vehicles were found to be of a different design and have been dropped from the investigation.
Edmunds says: Concerned consumers should speak to their Nissan dealer's service manager if they would like to have the panel trimmed. Otherwise, owners will have to wait for federal safety regulators to make a decision on next steps.