Takata Airbag Recall Could Expand to Seven More Automakers

Seven more automakers, including Volkswagen America, could be facing recalls because they use airbag inflators made by Takata, Corp. that can rupture with excessive force and spew metal shrapnel. Langdon & Emison is representing clients nationwide in cases involving the faulty airbags.

Interior view of 2 deployed airbags, view from driver’s side with focus on first airbag and steering.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last week sent letters to Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar-Land Rover, Spartan Motors Inc., Suzuki Motor Corp., Tesla, Volvo Trucks and Volkswagen AG, requesting information about which models have Takata inflators with an ammonium-nitrate propellant, according to The Washington Post.

NHTSA said in the Sept. 22 letters to the automakers that Takata’s theory so far is that the propellant wafer in some inflators may become more susceptible over time to “aggressive combustion” or rupture, according to an article by Law 360.

To date, about 19.2 million U.S. vehicles from 11 automakers, including Honda Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, have been recalled for Takata driver and passenger airbag inflators. NHTSA said one purpose of the letters was to determine how many additional vehicles might have to be recalled, The Washington Post reported.

Takata is conducting ongoing testing to determine the root cause of the defect. NHTSA said in its letters that the scope of the Takata recalls may expand further as Takata’s tests yield new information. Time, temperature and airborne moisture also contribute to the problem, the agency said.

Automakers are scrambling to replace some 23.4 million Takata airbag inflators. Only 4.4 million airbag inflators had been replaced as of Sept. 1, according to The Washington Post. A Takata executive told Congress in June that Takata’s new replacement airbag inflators still contain the ammonium-nitrate propellant.

At least eight deaths and hundreds of injuries have been linked to the defective airbags.

Contact Langdon & Emison

If you or someone you know has been injured by an airbag, contact Langdon & Emison at 1-800-397-4910 or click here.