General Motors last year had the unfortunate glory of having the biggest tally of recalled vehicles in a year – but the prize has been snatched just a year later by Japan’s Takata, and with just one defect to boot.
Last year was called the “year of the recall” because of the scandals linked to GM’s ignition switch defect that made the largest US automaker embark in an unprecedented safety review of its vehicles that brought numerous other campaigns. Also the Takata airbag crisis, which had actually started back in 2008 had escalated with clashes between the auto safety supplier and US safety regulators. Now the Japanese airbag manufacturer has decided to play nice with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – jointly announcing the doubling of the recall of potentially fatal airbags to almost 34 million vehicles in the US alone- affecting eleven automakers. The initial tally in regional and national recalls was of 16.6 million units and now the overall total for the affected vehicles globally has jumped to at least 53 million.
Regulators also said that so far six fatalities have been linked to the defective airbags around the world. “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with NHTSA, which represents a clear path forward,” commented Takata chief executive officer Shigehisa Takada. The pressure from the regulators made Takata expand the safety campaign of airbags that can violently explode with too much force, sending metal debris and shrapnel inside the cabin at high velocity.