Takata has expanded its airbag recall to include a new type of airbag inflator, adding another 2.7 million units to the growing number of affected vehicles.
The majority of the affected vehicles in this instance are from Ford, with 2.2 million units affected. A further 627,000 2007-2012 model year Nissan Versa models are also included in the recall, along with 6,000 Mazda B-Series trucks.
Takata airbag inflators may pose a safety risk when exposed to humidity. Takata airbags use ammonium nitrate to inflate, however, the compound may break down when exposed to high temperatures and airborne humidity and become more volatile. The supplier initially believed a drying agent would prevent the compound from deteriorating and that this type of inflator was safe, but tests proved otherwise.
“Takata has told the public that their line of airbag inflators with moisture absorbent was safe. This recall now raises serious questions about the threat posed by all of Takata’s ammonium nitrate-based airbags,” U.S. Senator Bill Nelson told Reuters. “If even more are found to be defective, it will take us from the biggest recall ever to something that could become mind-boggling.”
Takata previously recalled 46.2 million defective airbag inflators in the U.S. alone – 65 percent of which have not yet been repaired. By 2019, Takata expects a total of 60 million vehicles in the U.S. will be affected and 125 million worldwide. The recall is the largest ever automotive safety recall and spans 17 different automakers and a large variety of models.