Recalls are usually the result of an engineering or design flaw, or a break down in manufacturing. It’s unusual that they are pinned on one poor factory worker.
But such is the case for a Subaru recall issued recently that affects 383 Outbacks and Imprezas for the model year 2021. Here’s how the relevant NHTSA document describes it (emphasis mine):
The CVT select lever cable nut may have been undertorqued during vehicle assembly.
The basis for how the recall population was determined: Potentially affected vehicles were identified using vehicle production records. A single associate assigned to a specific production line working between the production dates specified (12/14/2020 – 12/21/2020) was found to be using an improper torque wrench technique. All vehicles potentially affected by this associate are included in the identified population.
If the CVT select lever cable nut was not properly torqued and loses retention, the gear select may not function properly. If the gear select does not function properly, there is an increased risk of crash.
It would be a poor day at work to come in and find out that you personally were responsible for a recall at the multinational automaker that you work for, but then again it would also be just another one of life’s unique experiences. If you bought an Impreza or Outback last month check NHTSA’s website to see if you got one of the (un)lucky ones.