U.S., Takata confirm recall of 35 million-40 million Takata air bag inflators

Wed May 4, 2016 3:16pm EDT
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By David Shepardson

(Reuters) - The U.S. Transportation Department and Takata Corp (7312.T: Quote) confirmed on Wednesday that automakers will recall another 35 million to 40 million U.S. air bag inflators assembled by the Japanese manufacturer by 2019.

The confirmation follows a report by Reuters Tuesday about the expansion of the largest-ever U.S. auto safety recall. Previously, 14 automakers had recalled 24 million vehicles with 28.8 million inflators linked to at least 11 deaths and more than 100 injuries.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) officials said Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O: Quote), Fisker Automotive and Jaguar Land Rover will recall Takata air bag inflators, bringing the automakers involved to 17, including Honda Motor Co (7267.T: Quote), Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCHA.MI: Quote).

NHTSA said the decision "follows the agency’s confirmation of the root cause behind the inflators’ propensity to rupture."

Takata must file new defect reports starting May 16 covering 35-40 million additional inflators that will lead to recalls by the automakers. The expansions mean all Takata ammonium nitrate-based propellant driver and passenger frontal air bag inflators without a chemical drying agent, known as a desiccant, will be recalled.

Takata confirmed the expansion but said it is not aware of any ruptures in the inflators in vehicles that are part of the expansion "nor is Takata aware of any new data or scientific analysis that suggests any substantial risk with respect to such vehicles."

NHTSA officials demanded in meetings last week with Takata that it agree to the expansion. "This agreement with NHTSA is consistent with our desire to work with regulators and our automaker customers to develop long-term, orderly solutions to these important safety issues," said Shigehisa Takada, Chairman & CEO of Takata, in a statement.

Takata said the first defect notice will be filed on May 16 and will cover approximately 14 million U.S. inflators. Takata said it told NHTSA of "severe challenges it will face in supplying replacement parts for the expanded recalls."   Continued...

A sign with the Takata logo is seen outside the Takata Corporation building in Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S. May 20, 2015. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo