The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the expansion of an already massive safety recall triggered by the Japanese auto supplier.
So far, 24 million vehicles have been recalled in the United States with 28.8 million inflators from 14 automakers, all of them fitted with Takata’s faulty inflators. However, this safety crisis is going to be further expanded, as the US regulators said this week that, following the agency’s confirmation of the root cause behind the inflators’ propensity to rupture, the carmakers would have to recall another 35 million to 40 million inflators. These expansions are planned to take place in phases between May 2016 and December 2019, and they mean that all Takata ammonium nitrate-based propellant driver and passenger frontal airbag inflators without a chemical drying agent, also known as a desiccant, will be declared as defective.
The recall phases are 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. The number of affected automakers is now rising to 17, as NHTSA officials said Tesla, Fisker Automotive and Jaguar Land Rover are also involved. “The acceleration of this recall is based on scientific evidence and will protect all Americans from air bag inflators that may become unsafe,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.
Last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that there were still around 85 million Takata airbags fitted on US vehicles, all of them having the volatile substance that could lead to deadly ruptures. However, the latest expansion does not include additional inflators that include that chemical desiccant that absorbs moisture, but if those are proven to be unsafe as well, NHTSA said that would definitely order a new safety campaign.