US NHTSA broadens Takata recall with additional 35-40M inflators

US NHTSA broadens Takata recall with additional 35-40M inflators image

Text: Marcus De Guzman / Photos: Manufacturer Press | posted May 05, 2016 12:50

Safety campaign to run from May 2016 until December 2019

Takata is in for the long haul after the US National Highway Safety Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced that the Japanese parts supplier will have to recall an additional 35-40 million airbag inflators.

Under the Amended Consent Order to Takata this week, the parts supplier is mandated to make a series of recalls for affected automakers that will become a part of the safety campaign. The new addition of faulty airbag inflators adds up to the previously recalled 28.8 million units that have already been accounted for.

The five recall phases will take place from May 2016 until December 2019 and will be based on prioritization of risk. This meant that Takata will have to check for the faulty component's age, exposure to humidity and temperature fluctuation which accelerates the degradation of the propellant.

When the propellant burns too quickly, it damages the inflator module which sends metal shrapnel towards the driver or passenger. NHTSA stressed that all ammonium nitrate based propellant driver and passenger frontal airbags without a chemical drying agent will have to be recalled.

“The science clearly shows that these inflators become unsafe over time, faster when exposed to humidity and variations of temperature. This recall schedule ensures the inflators will be recalled and replaced before they become dangerous, giving vehicle owners sufficient time to have them replaced before they pose a danger to vehicle occupants. NHTSA will continue to evaluate all available research and will act quickly to protect safety,” said Mark Rosekind, NHTSA Administrator.

Several weeks ago, US NHTSA announced that the affected cars in the US now amount to 85 million vehicles. The safety agency stated that all vehicles will have to be recalled unless Takata can prove that they are not part of the safety campaign. To date, NHTSA said that potential number of defective Takata inflators include 43.4 million passenger side airbag inflators, 26.9 million side airbag inflators and 14.5 million driver side airbag inflators.