Nissan has issued a vehicle defect recall for 46,000 of its 2009 and 2010 Cube models because of possible problems with fuel spillage and fire hazards in the event of a rear-end collision. According to an Associated Press news report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s documents show that the fuel spillage occurred in rear-end crash tests where the vehicle also spun around. Regulators found that more fuel was spilled in these crashes than federal standards allow.

Failure to Meet Safety Standards

Nissan’s own tests earlier did now show fuel leakage. However, the Japanese auto maker has agreed to issue a voluntary recall, which will cover model year 2009 and 2010 Cubes manufactured between January 30, 2009 and July 30, 2010. The Cube was first introduced in Asia. It has been selling well in the United States since last year. About 15,530 Cubes were sold just this year through June. Toyota issued a similar auto product defect recall involving its Lexus hybrid.

Fuel leaks during rear-end collisions should not be taken lightly. In fact, Nissan’s problem is similar to the serious design problem, which resulted in catastrophic injuries and at least 27 deaths in the late 1970s with the Ford Pinto. The Pinto cases were what triggered a positive change in federal safety standards. The Pinto tragedies gave birth to the safety standards we have today with regard to how much impact vehicles must withstand in rear-end collisions.

Auto Product Liability Issues

It is interesting, but not surprising, that both Toyota and Nissan found nothing wrong with their vehicles when they were tested in-house. The fuel leak issues both with the Lexus hybrid and the Cube were discovered by federal regulators when they tested them. It is not clear whether any injuries or fatalities have yet been attributed to the Cube. Although this is being termed as a voluntary recall, it is apparent that the auto maker was forced to issue the recall because the vehicle did not meet federal safety standards.

Victims who have been injured as a result of these or other auto product defects would be well-advised to consult with an experienced California personal injury lawyer, who has successfully handled auto products liability cases against large auto makers. In any car accident case, it is important to preserve the vehicle intact so it can be examined by an expert thoroughly for malfunctions, defects or other evidence.

Are you a Nissan Cube owner? What are some of your concerns or observations after hearing about this recall?