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Takata airbag recall continues to increase

ABR Staff Writer Published 30 May 2016

Eight automakers have isuued recalls for over 12 million vehicles due to defects in Takata airbag inflators.


The latest recall has further widened the already biggest ever airbag-related recall in automotive history.

FCA US is voluntarily recalling about 4.3 million older-model vehicles to replace their front-passenger air bag inflators.

Honda has already recalled over 4.5 million vehicles, while Mazda has issued a recall of more than 731,628 vehicles.

The airbag inflators manufactured by Takata have gone defective because ammonium nitrate was being used without the addition of a chemical drying agent.

This use of the chemical, when added with high temperature and high humidity can result in chemical degradation of ammonium nitrate which may cause inflator rupture and can propel fragments inside vehicle cabin.

It is being estimated that as many as 120 million vehicles contain the volatile chemical ammonium nitrate, which needs to be replaced with a safer chemical compound in airbag inflators.

So far, Takata's defective airbag inflators have resulted in a total of 11 deaths worldwide, with 10 deaths reported in US.

As of now, as many as 34 million vehicles in US alone were recalled and it is estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that the recall numbers might grow between 35-40 million and the recall would only be completed by 2019.

Recently, Takata was ordered to pay a penalty of $70m to NHTSA as a settlement which also includes its commitment to stop producing airbag inflators using ammonium nitrate by 2018.

The agreement also includes a clause where the Japanese airbag maker will have recall all of its ammonium nitrate inflators unless and until it can demonstrate that it is safe to use them.

Image: Takata steering-wheel in a Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Photo: Courtesy of OSX/Wikipedia.