Massive Vehicle Recall Due to Airbags

Honda, Mazda and Nissan are recalling almost 3 million vehicles worldwide due to defective airbag inflators that are prone to exploding, delivering potentially fatal shrapnel toward the driver.

All three companies have made previous recalls for the problem — Honda recalled more than a million last year — and said supplier, Takata, notified them that the earlier recalls did not cover all potentially defective bags.

Toyota is also involved, with a most recent recall of more than two million vehicles worldwide, including 766,300 in the U.S., many for the second time.

Related story: Toyota expands airbag recall

There have been nearly 10 million Takata airbag recalls in the past 5 years. Six injuries are associated with the problem and two deaths, both are linked with Honda in 2009. No crashes or injuries are related to the most recent recalls.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation this month concerning the spreading Takata bag problem.

The bags were made in the early 2000s and it is now believed that the propellant was degraded by improper storage and exposure to moisture. The company says it also now is investigating whether vehicles in high humidity areas might had additional risk.

Poor record keeping by Takata has made it difficult to identify the vehicles that may have bad inflators, causing the recalls to expand.

In the latest actions:

— Honda recalled 1.02 million vehicles in North America and 2.03 million worldwide. They were built in 2000 through 2005 and include some models of Civic, CR-V, Odyssey and Element.

— Nissan. recalled 755,000 vehicles worldwide built from 2001 through 2003, with about a quarter-million Pathfinder, Cube and Infiniti FX35 models.

— Mazda recalled nearly 160,000 vehicles made from 2002 through 2004 with about 15,000 in North America, including RX-8 and early Mazda6 sedans..

Japan-based Takata is a big supplier of airbags, seat belts, steering wheels and other parts. It is one of three major suppliers of airbags along with Sweden-based Autoliv and U.S.-based TRW.

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