Takata recalls air bag inflators in 5.1 million U.S. vehicles

Tue Jan 26, 2016 7:15pm EST
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By David Shepardson and Bernie Woodall

(Reuters) - U.S. auto safety regulators said Tuesday that air bag maker Takata Corp declared 5.1 million U.S. vehicles defective, as the company disclosed an 11th death could be linked to a faulty airbag.

Most of the vehicles mentioned in numerous previous recalls involving Takata air bags have been older models, but the new recalls include some 2014 models. The Japanese company said newer vehicles remain under "investigation and could be subject to recall at a later date."

The newly released documents show that regulators may prod automakers to recall recent models.

That could greatly increase the total number of vehicles recalled, which in the United States now stands at about 24 million involving about 28 million Takata air bag inflators.

Ford Motor Co on Tuesday became the first of several automakers involved to announce a recall. A 2006 Ford Ranger was involved in a Dec. 22 crash that killed the driver when a Takata air bag inflator caused the bag to rupture, sending shrapnel into the vehicle.

A similar airbag inflator was involved in a fatal rupture of a Honda model in Malaysia in 2014, which prompted a worldwide recall by Honda Motor Co.

Takata said in a document released on Tuesday that there was another rupture of a similar inflator in August in India in a 2007 Honda Civic, but it is not clear if the rupture caused the death of the driver. That could be the 11th death worldwide attributed to defective Takata inflators.

Nine deaths related to Takata air bags have occurred in the United States. The death in the Ford Ranger is the first not to involve a car made by Honda.   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