Japanese air bag manufacturer Takata Corp. is expected to announce as early as Wednesday that it is recalling 35 million to 40 million additional inflators in US vehicles, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources.
The expanded recall will be phased in over several years and more than double what is already the largest and most complex auto safety recall in US history, the news agency said.
The new recall will cover all frontal air bag inflators without a drying agent, sources briefed on the matter said.
To date, 14 automakers, led by Honda Motor Co., have recalled 24 million US vehicles with 28.8 million inflators due to the risk that they can explode with too much force and spray metal shards inside vehicles.
In recent days, officials from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) told Takata they need to expand the recall based on the government’s determination of the root cause of the problems, the sources said.
NHTSA spokesman Bryan Thomas declined to confirm the expanded recall.
“NHTSA has reviewed the findings of three separate investigations into the Takata air bag ruptures. The recall of Takata air bag inflators … continues and the agency will take all appropriate actions to make sure air bags in Americans’ vehicles are safe.”
The new recall is expected to include about 35 million passenger-side air bags and some driver-side air bags without a drying agent.
It is also expected to include some air bags that were previously replaced that did not have a drying agent.
At least 11 people have been killed worldwide in incidents linked to defective Takata inflators.
The latest was the March 31 death of a 17-year-old driver in Texas.
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