Nissan Rogue investigated over sudden braking

An investigation into sudden, unnecessary emergency braking by Nissan’s compact Rogue crossover will continue, NHTSA announced Tuesday, after an automotive safety advocacy group petitioned the agency to advise Nissan to conduct a recall campaign.

According to the original defect petition submitted by the NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation in March, at least 99 model year 2017-2018 Nissan Rogues had been involved in incidents of what has been described as “false automatic emergency braking,” wherein the system activates without a legitimate obstacle being present. In response to the original filing, Nissan provided internal data indicating that the total number of reported incidents has increased to at least 750, of which 12 resulted in a collision.

The Center for Auto Safety filed a petition to re-open the investigation because Nissan responded to the incident reports with only a technical service bulletin. This bulletin provides dealers with instructions to remedy issues with the AEB system, but such service would only be free if conducted under warranty unless other arrangements are made between the customer and dealer. CAS believes Nissan should launch a full-scale recall of the affected models, which would require the company to foot the bill for the fix. 

NHTSA’s Tuesday announcement indicates that the petition has been granted, and the investigation will be renewed. 

“While we are pleased to see NHTSA finally open a formal investigation based on our petition, this should not delay Nissan taking more seriously the danger the phantom braking defect presents for everyone on the road,” said CAS Executive Director Jason Levine. “The issue deserves a recall and all Nissan owners must receive a working, permanent remedy as soon as possible.”

While NHTSA advises automakers on safety recall campaigns and has the authority to compel them, the overwhelming majority are launched voluntarily by the manufacturer.