In a new twist of Takata’s airbags scandal, the US safety regulators are thinking of recalling another 70 million to 90 million airbags manufactured by the Japanese supplier.
If the scale of the safety campaigns triggered by Takata’s faulty airbags can be considered as having colossal proportions, such an action would bring the recalls size to another dimension. There are around 29 million cars affected so far in the United States by the explosive inflators and, in all, as many as 120 million Takata airbags in US vehicles have ammonium nitrate, the chemical substance that led to the deadly ruptures, according to company documents reviewed by Reuters and verified by two former Takata managers. Therefore, the US safety regulators are examining whether an additional 70 million to 90 million airbags may endanger drivers, a person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. However, it still is unclear what is the total number of affected cars, as many of them have evidently more than one inflator, and not always from the same manufacturer.
Takata produced between 260 million and 285 million ammonium nitrate-based inflators worldwide between 2000 and 2015, out of which nearly half wound up in US vehicles, one of the former company managers told Reuters, citing the firm’s production records. The supplier agreed in September to pay a 70 million dollars penalty to NHTSA in a settlement that included its commitment to stop making inflators that use ammonium nitrate by 2018. It also pledged to declare all remaining ammonium nitrate inflators defective by 2019 unless it can demonstrate they are safe. The NHTSA continues to investigate all Takata inflators which are using ammonium nitrate, but it has not yet found sufficient evidence to direct automakers to recall the remaining inflators, said spokesman Gordon Trowbridge. “This issue will take years to resolve,” Trowbridge said.