WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into an estimated 30,000 2012 Volkswagen Passat and CC sedans for a problem that may result in improper function of the driver's airbag.
A failure of the steering wheel clock spring/steering column control module (SCCM) "results in a loss of connectivity of the steering wheel electrical devices to the rest of the vehicle, potentially affecting the performance of the driver-side airbag, as well as the other steering-wheel-mounted components," NHTSA said in its summary of the probe.
Federal safety regulators have received nine reports from consumers alleging such failures in 2012 Passat and CC sedans.
No crashes, injuries or fatalities are linked to the probe.
"Consumer reports indicate that failures occur during normal driving conditions and are sometimes accompanied by an audible noise from the steering column," NHTSA said. "When the SCCM fails, an airbag warning light is illuminated on the dash of the vehicle.
If a vehicle with a failed SCCM were to be involved in a crash of sufficient severity to require deployment, the driver's airbag may not deploy properly."
"Volkswagen is aware of the new NHTSA inquiry and will fully comply with the agency on this investigation," wrote Volkswagen spokesman Mark Gillies in response to a query from Edmunds on Friday.
NHTSA has opened a preliminary evaluation into the matter. Such an action sometimes precedes a vehicle recall.
Edmunds says: These cars have not been recalled at this point. If you own one of them and have an immediate concern, it's best to contact your dealer.