The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has finally ordered the Japanese auto safety parts supplier Takata Corp. to expand its regional recall of faulty airbags to a nationwide level.
Since 2008 millions of cars around the world have been recalled and at least 10 million are in the US alone – with safety campaigns starting from 2013. Ten automakers that have Takata-equipped airbags have been recalling the vehicles because they have airbag inflators that are potentially defective – they could explode with too much force, sending metal shards inside the cabin at high velocity.
The US regulator recently decided that the supplier’s approach so far to the potentially deadly flaw is insufficient – so far only regional recalls have been issued in the United States – especially in humid states and territories, which were believed to be a contributing factor. The NHTSA ordered Takata to declare by December 2 they found a defect in “driver’s side air-bag inflators and is nationwide in scope.” The failure to comply with the notice could lead to a forceful recall from the agency and civil fines of $7,000 per violation.
Last week the Japanese parts manufacturer tried to sway the US regulator’s resolve to initiate a nationwide recall because according to the company in other regions the risk of a defective airbag inflator is lower and spreading the recall would negatively impact the already large shortage of replacement kits.