From today, Fiat is writing to around 21,000 UK owners of its popular Grande Punto supermini, advising them to take their car to a local Fiat dealer for a free-of-charge safety modification.
The ‘product update campaign’ comes after Which? safety inspectors discovered that a metal plate was missing from the steering column of early versions of the right-hand-drive Grande Punto.
This metal load-spreading plate can help prevent the driver sustaining serious knee injuries in the event of a frontal crash. It was also partly responsible for the Grande Punto’s good five-star Euro NCAP rating earlier this year, for which left-hand-drive cars were tested. However, early UK-specification cars built before Fiat began fitting the metal plate would have scored only four stars in the same crash tests.
We’re pleased that Fiat has decided to bring right-hand drive cars up the advertised safety standards, although it has taken time for the carmaker to start contacting owners directly. Fiat has told us letters will go out in batches, but if you own one of the 21,000 affected cars, you should expect to receive a letter in the next few weeks.
We can also confirm the chassis numbers (VINs) of the affected cars, which cover two different batches and three individual cars. In all cases, these numbers fall at the end of the 17-digit VIN (most easily found on the V5C registration document).
Batch 1: 00022165 to 00149957
Batch 2: 01032357 to 01131059
Three individual models: 00001981, 00912000 and 01512500
Fiat expects the work to take around 35 minutes per car.