DETROIT, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co on Thursday expanded the recall of older-model Mustang cars, that have driver-side Takata airbags with inflators, to include about 502,500 vehicles.
Ford was one of five automakers asked by U.S. regulator National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last month to expand a recall of vehicles with possibly defective driver-side Takata Corp airbags beyond a limited area with high humidity.
Takata has said that extended exposure to high humidity could cause the inflators to malfunction, causing metal shrapnel to be launched at vehicle occupants when these airbags inflate.
Previously, Ford had recalled about 55,000 vehicles with possibly defective driver-side airbags. NHTSA requested the expanded recall after it learned of airbag inflator problems outside of the limited high-humidity area.
Driver-side airbag inflator incidents have been linked to at least five deaths, none in Ford vehicles. Ford said it was aware of one accident with an injury possibly related to malfunctioning airbags.
Now, the Ford recall includes 500,439 Mustangs from model years 2005 to 2008 and 2,050 of the niche two-seat sports car Ford GT from model years 2005 and 2006.
Of the vehicles to be recalled at the request of NHTSA, about 463,000 are registered in the United States and federalized territories, about 27,500 in Canada, about 7,600 in Mexico and about 4,500 outside North America.
Including passenger-side air bag recalls, the total number of Ford vehicles recalled with Takata airbag inflators is now 538,977. (Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Bernadette Baum)