The already massive Takata airbag recall has been expanded to include another 35 million to 40 million vehicles.
Update: The U.S. Department of Transportation has confirmed the recall expansion, saying that an additional estimated 35 million to 40 million inflators will be recalled, adding to the already 28.8 million inflators recalled. The expansions will take place in phases between May 2016 and December 2019. A total of five recall phases will be part of the expansion and will be based on prioritization of risk, determined by the age of the inflators and exposure to high humidity and fluctuating high temperatures that accelerate the degradation of the chemical propellant.
It is being reported that the Takata airbag recall expansion could be announced as early as this week and currently, it isn’t clear which vehicles will be affected by the expansion. The safety defect has already been linked to 11 deaths globally along with dozens of injuries, as the faulty Takata airbag inflators can rupture with too much force and spray shrapnel inside the cabin when deployed. The inflators expected to be part of the expanded recall use ammonium nitrate as a propellant and lacks a drying agent that keeps moisture from building. The inflators that contain desiccant to prevent moisture aren’t expected to be recalled.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that additional airbag inflators should be recalled after studying three different probes: one conducted by Takata, one by 10 automakers and a separate one by Honda. Last November, Takata agreed that U.S. regulators have broad authority to order the Japanese company to expand the recall if necessary.
To date, 14 automakers have taken part in the massive Takata airbag recall with Honda leading the way with 24 million vehicles recalled in the U.S. alone. Last month, U.S. regulators noted that there were potentially 85 million unrecalled Takata airbag inflators in U.S. vehicles that would need to be recalled by 2019 unless Takata can prove they are safe.
[Source: The Wall Street Journal]