Tata Altroz: Rear seatbelt buckle comes off in 4 pieces!

This was the first time in 30 years of car ownership in the family that a seatbelt had malfunctioned in this fashion.

BHPian gomzi recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

In November 2022, we were shopping for a new car as the old one had broken down for the umpteenth time.

As luck may have it, the last breakdown was right in front of the local Tata Motors dealership. Since the Nexon was on my shortlist, I decided to wander inside and check it out while waiting for the mechanic to arrive.

My priorities within a budget of Rs.15 Lakhs on-road were

  • Safety – in a world of 5 star safety rated cars, I didn’t want to look at anything other, especially since this would be the primary vehicle
  • Automatic transmission – to help my with the ageing knees and increasing traffic

The shortlist with this criteria was a small one. XUV 300 AMT, Nexon AMT.

After testdrives, the AMT gearboxes were out of the shortlist due to headnod effect, but at the behest of the persistent Tata Motors salesman, I tried the Altroz DCA.

Boy did I love that gearbox. Miles better than the AMT and cheaper on-road too. I just wish this gearbox was provided on the Nexon.

A subsequent test drive along with the family and the Altroz was booked and delivered within a couple of weeks! The dealership had the colour and variant we wanted available in the stockyard, and the PDI checked out.

Since my usage is very low, the car doesn’t really have much miles on it, and I had no specific complaints about the car.

Until now that it is, and thus this thread.

A couple of weeks ago, the car saw its only occasion to have all 5 seats occupied. As a safety aware family, all rear occupants wear seatbelts too, and thus the rear center seatbelt (lapbelt really) was put to use for the first time without any incident.

The next day when the missus tried to fasten that center lapbelt again, she said it wasn’t getting fastened. And a half minute later she proclaimed the seatbelt buckle had well, buckled!

The buckle just came off in 4 pieces!

This was the first time in 30 years of car ownership in the family that a seatbelt had malfunctioned in this fashion.

So much for 5-star safety!

If such a basic safety part like the seatbelt – which we all assume will save us in the worst case scenario – can fail so spectacularly under no stress, I wonder how it’ll fare when actually needed under stress, the rear center seat occupant is likely to fly through the front windscreen.

Anyway, an email with pictures to Tata customer care yielded hardly any response for over a week, so i posted the issue and picture on twitter yesterday, tagging @tatamotors & @tatamotors_cars, which got an immediate and urgent response by Tata who handed it off to their local dealership.

The dealership (Heritage Motors, Thane) sent a mechanic home today to replace the seatbelt and have promised to follow-up with Tata Motors on why the part failed. I shall followup with them as well and post any updates here.

I’m putting this thread up for awareness of other Tata Cars owners, the escalation procedures (just tag Tata Motors on social media, they seem to sleep on emails) and documenting this seatbelt broken issue which I’ve not seen reported by anyone earlier.

Here’s what BHPian Nitesh_M had to say on the matter:

From the photos it looks like a DIY Ikea furniture. I don’t think Gncap checks for the strength and durability of seatbelts which is rather ironic because seatbelts are your primary restraint system in the case of an accident. Any failure in the PRS totally nullifies the Secondary restraint system which is the airbags.

So much for the testing standards at Ncap.

Here’s what BHPian arjab had to say on the matter:

Safety belts are homologated by the supplier for the regions and markets the vehicles are sold and sent to the manufacturer for fitment to their vehicles alongwith all the necessary QC documents. In fact most major sub assemblies are certified by suppliers and sent to the OEM. This is a global practice in vehicle manufacturing.
Yes, incoming part quality inspection is there with all OEM’s but it is the OEM’s decision whether to test each and every individual part or undertake random tests. Usually the latter is resorted to by mass market OEM’s due to volume pressures, as it physically becomes difficult to check each and every part for each and every car being made.

Whatever it is, the seatbelt tongue slipping out of its plastic casing can in no way be condoned. Tata Motors should do an immediate root cause analysis at the supplier end to find out what went wrong and whether this is an isolated case or a whole batch of lap belts have been affected. Sooner TML does it, the better.

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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