Audi ordered a nationwide stop sale and recall for new and used 2012-18 A6 and A7 sedans equipped with certain seats after determining that a sensor designed to detect whether the passenger seat is occupied can malfunction.
The defect could cause airbags to fail to deploy in a crash.
An Audi spokesman said 139,249 A6s and A7s in the U.S. are affected and that the stop sale was ordered June 11. The affected vehicles were manufactured between January 2011 and April 2018 and are equipped with either standard or Super Sport seats. In such vehicles, a sensor mat in the front passenger seat can experience increased electrical resistance, corrupting the signal that indicates whether the seat is occupied and whether the passenger-side airbags should be deployed in a crash.
No deaths, injuries or damage resulting from the defect have been reported to Audi, the spokesman said. A fix is not yet available. The recall does not affect A6 and A7 models sold in other countries.
Consumers can tell if their vehicles are experiencing the malfunction by whether an indicator light -- which shows the passenger-side airbags are not armed -- activates when the front passenger seat is occupied. If that is the case, consumers are advised to discontinue use of the seat immediately and contact their local dealership. The spokesman said it was otherwise safe to continue using the car until it can be inspected or repaired.
Sales of both the A6 and A7 have fallen sharply this year as consumers move away from sedans and coupes toward crossovers and other higher-sitting vehicles. Through May, Audi has sold 5,067 A6s in the U.S., down 23 percent, and just 1,422 A7s, down 31 percent.