WASHINGTON -- Several import-brand automakers are recalling more than 200,000 cars and trucks because the vehicles' high-tech restraint systems may not work as intended with child safety seats.
Volkswagen of America Inc. is recalling all 50,000 Touareg SUVs built for the 2004 and 2005 model years.
Seat belt retractors are intended to switch automatically from the locking function needed for a seated adult passenger to the locking function for a child when a child seat is installed. But the devices may not work with some child seat designs, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says.
As a result, the retractors, which are in the rear and at the front passenger seat, may not hold child seats in place securely, the agency says.
VW spokesman Tony Fouladpour says the automaker likely will try to solve the problem with the addition of a clip to the seat belts rather than replacement of retractors.
Porsche Cars North America Inc. is recalling 2003-05 Cayenne SUVs, which have similar retractors. Porsche sold 31,038 Cayennes in the United States through December 2004.
Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. is recalling more than 150,000 cars to replace switches in front passenger seat belt buckles.
The devices can be dislodged when child seats are installed. If that happens, the advanced airbag system may mistake a rear-facing child seat for an unbelted adult and not suppress the passenger airbag as intended, NHTSA says.
Affected are 2004-05 Toyota Camrys and Lexus ES 330s.