New Takata air bag recall to cover five million U.S. vehicles

Fri Jan 22, 2016 6:50pm EST
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By David Shepardson and Bernie Woodall

(Reuters) - U.S. regulators on Friday announced a new recall of about 5 million vehicles with potentially defective Takata Corp air bags, covering some automakers not previously affected by one of the biggest auto safety recalls in U.S. history.

The new action brings to 28 million the number of Takata air bag inflators recalled and increases the number of vehicles affected in the United States to as many as 24 million, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said.

Friday's move was prompted in part by the death of the driver of a Ford Motor Co Ranger pickup truck last month, as well as new tests conducted on suspected faulty air bags.

Automakers affected for the first time include Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) and its Audi unit, Daimler's Mercedes-Benz unit and Saab. Other automakers taking part in the recall announced Friday include Ford, Honda Motor Co Mazda Motor Corp and BMW AG.

"This is a massive safety crisis," NHTSA spokesman Gordon Trowbridge told reporters.

The Dec. 22 death of a Georgia man in South Carolina was the 10th worldwide linked with Takata's air bag inflators, NHTSA said. It was the ninth in the United States and first to occur in a vehicle that was not made by Honda.

The 5 million vehicles covered by the new recalls for inflators in driver-side air bags include about 1 million with inflators similar to those installed on the Ford Ranger, NHTSA said.

Honda recalled vehicles around the world with the same inflators used in the Ford Ranger after the death of a pregnant woman in Malaysia in 2014, while Ford conducted a limited recall for some passenger side air bags. NHTSA said 1,900 U.S. tests of those inflators have not resulted in any ruptures.   Continued...

Visitors walk behind a logo of Takata Corp on its display at a showroom for vehicles in Tokyo, Japan, November 6, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai