1.7m more cars recalled over fatal airbags
Subaru, Tesla, BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler Vans, Mercedes and Ferrari are recalling about 1.7 million vehicles to replace potentially deadly airbag inflators made by Takata Corp of Japan.
The inflators can hurl shrapnel into drivers and passengers. At least 23 people have died from the problem worldwide and hundreds more have been injured.
The moves, announced Friday by the US government, are part of the largest series of automotive recalls in US history. About 10 million inflators are being recalled in the US this year, with as many as 70 million to be recalled by the time the whole mess ends late next year.
Takata used the chemical ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate the airbags. But the chemical can deteriorate over time due to high humidity and cycles from hot temperatures to cold. The most dangerous inflators are in areas of the South along the Gulf of Mexico that have high humidity.
The recalls, which began in 2001, are being phased in over time and managed by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Many of the recalls are limited to specific geographic regions in the US. Owners can check at https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls and keying in a 17-digit vehicle identification number. As of December, automakers had recalled 50.36 million inflators and replaced 27.2 million of them. That leaves more than 23 million yet to be replaced.
Ford, Honda, Toyota, and Fiat Chrysler already released their 2019 Takata recalls totaling more than 5 million. The recalls forced Takata to seek bankruptcy protection and sell most of its assets to pay for the fixes.