Exclusive – Rear seat belts assembly in Kwid makes them cross each other; Renault sees no problem

It is undeniable that the Renault Kwid became a market success in Brazil. And also that it will not start to be delivered until December to Brazilian customers who bought it after the pre-reservation period, but Renault is doing the best it can to deliver it as soon as possible. Only the rush may have caused more reasons for delay, as MotorChase discovered in several Kwid units inspected. They all present a serious flaw at the rear seat belts assembly. You may not have identified it in the photo above. So we took lots of shots that show where the problem is.

Did you notice it now? The central lap seat belt comes from the outer of the left belt buckle and connects to a buckle on the outer side of the right seat belt buckle. In other words, it can only be used if it crosses the lateral three-point seat belts, what harms the operation of both the central and the right side seat belts. Check out how the back seat belts are assembled.

All buckles bring a stamp indicating their position and compatibility. The white seal, with a capital C, is for the central buckle. The green one, with the RH inscription, for “right hand”, probably, has been installed for the three-point seat belt on the right side. The orange one comes with the letters LH, “left hand”, indicating that it is the one for the left. And the wrapped belt is the other end of the lap seat belt. The one that was supposed to be central has each of its parts in at the outer parts. And it just fits the C buckle. The RH and LH buckles work with any of the retractable three-point seat belts.

Looking at the picture above, you may think that it would be enough to reverse the buckles, but it is not possible. See why below.

The buckles’ fastenings are quite short. In addition to that, they are attached to a small steel plate.

The same happens with the left buckle and the “central” seat belt tongue and strap.

If the steel plates that hold the buckles were inverted, the problem wouldn’t exist. To make it clearer, the LH buckle and the central seat belt strap plate should be placed on the right side of the car. The one that comes with the C and RH buckles should be placed on the left. That would leave both the C buckle and the central strap where they should have been all along: in the center of the rear seat.

In addition to the model we took these pictures from, we went to a dealership to verify if the problem was not restricted to this unit. According to the sellers, “that’s normal”, except it’s not. And every other Kwid we could see there presented the same problem.

In Brazil, any correcting action from the carmaker is only called a recall if the problems they aim to correct threaten life or physical integrity of the occupants. The wrong assembly of the the rear seat belts could possibly fit in this description by hindering car exit in case of accident or fire, for example. But Renault may not call the fix like this. What is certain is that the owners of the car will have to go to the dealers so that the plates are exchanged. As well as the RH and LH stickers which are placed in the wrong buckles. This, in fact, may be the explanation for the error.

Since they are imported from India, the components must have come out with the stickers swapped in the buckles. The Brazilian factory assembly workers must have followed these directions.

Renault has not yet been contacted, since we discovered the problem last weekend. We will update this story once we get the official words from the automaker on the assembly mistake.

UPDATE – 12/09/2017, at 18:48

We have received the following answer from the manufacturer: “In response to your enquiry, Renault states there is nothing wrong with the rear seat belts of Kwid. Their placement has been defined in a way to offer the best ergonomics for each passenger”. Check the pictures in this article and remember these words if you ever have to use the central lap seat belt of a Kwid.

Gustavo Henrique Ruffo

I have been an automotive journalist since 1998 and have worked for many important Brazilian newspapers and magazines, such as the local edition of Car and Driver and Quatro Rodas, Brazilian's biggest car magazine. I have also worked for foreign websites, such as World Car Fans and won a few journalism prizes, among them three SAE Journalism Awards and the 2017 IAM RoadSmart Safety Award. I am the author of "The Traffic Cholesterol", a book about bad drivers that you can buy at Hotmart, Google Play, Amazon and Kobo.