Date
24 October 2017
Regulators have linked six deaths worldwide to defective Takata air bags which exploded with too much force and sent shrapnel into the vehicles. Photo: Internet
Regulators have linked six deaths worldwide to defective Takata air bags which exploded with too much force and sent shrapnel into the vehicles. Photo: Internet

Japanese air bag defect sparks largest US auto recall

A Japanese airbag manufacturer is undertaking the largest car-related recall in United States history to fix a potentially deadly defect.

Takata Corp. is doubling the recall to nearly 34 million vehicles, Reuters reported Wednesday.

The recall involves passenger and driver-side air bag inflators in vehicles made by 11 carmakers, the report said, citing the US Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Takata.

It expands on the 16.6 million vehicles called back for repairs for the same issue in previous regional and national recalls and boosts the number of vehicles affected globally since 2008 to more than 53 million.

On Tuesday, regulators linked six deaths worldwide to defective Takata air bags which exploded with too much force and sent shrapnel into the vehicles.

Takata chief executive Shigehisa Takada said in a statement: “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with NHTSA, which represents a clear path forward.”

The company declined to say whether markets outside the US will be affected.

Under pressure from US regulators, Takata agreed to the expanded recall after resisting it, saying the defect cited by automakers was not “officially recognized”.

Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. had expanded their Takata recalls over the past week.

The automakers have said they decided to proceed with their recalls after finding some Takata air bag inflators were not sealed properly, allowing moisture to seep in to the propellant casing.

Moisture damages the propellant and can lead to an inflator exploding with too much force, shooting shrapnel inside the vehicle.

The six deaths linked to the defective air bags have all occurred in cars made by Honda, which has borne the brunt of the Takata recalls to date. Honda gave a disappointing profit forecast last month due to higher costs related to quality fixes.

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