Defective airbags forced eight automakers to recall another 12 million vehicles from the US market. This action against Takata airbags may be the largest auto safety measure taken in years.
For example, Fiat Chrysler recalled 4.3 million cars and Honda Motor Co recalled no more than 4.5 million vehicles. Fiat Chrysler will also recall almost 1 million vehicles sold outside the US.
The US government put pressure on the companies after tests have shown issues with the frontal and passenger-side inflators.
On impact, Takata inflators open with force and become unsafe for the persons inside the car. Moreover, simulations have shown that they can release metal shrapnel in the interior of the vehicle.
The defective inflators have been the cause of 13 deaths and at least 100 injuries.
The airbag manufacturer is Takata, a company from Japan. The vehicles in question are cars, SUVs, and pickups that have been built between 2002 and 2011.
The recalls are prioritized by the risk of exposure to high humidity and the age of the car. It will take several years for some owners to get replacements for the defective inflators.
Worldwide, 50 million vehicles were recalled due to this default in airbags. Even the Japanese authorities recently announced the recall of approximately 7 million vehicles from their local market.
These new measures were taken because of the increased pressure exerted by the US safety regulators. The unfortunate death in March of a teenage girl raised the attention to the Takata airbags again. Police said that the teenager would have survived if it weren’t for the defective inflators.
Automakers find it difficult to obtain replacement parts and to convince owners to get the needed repairs. Only 8.5 million airbags have been replaced so far, less than a half of the total.
As for Takata, the company has to pay a $70 million penalty for these safety violations. The US National Administration for Traffic Safety named a former federal prosecutor to verify the recalling process.
The Japanese company agreed to stop using the chemical substance involved in their defective products, and it is liable of more recalls if there will be proof that other vehicles face the same safety issues.
Takata is now under criminal investigation in the US and has multiple lawsuits filed by the state of Hawaii and by the Virgin Islands.
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