New Problems with Takata Airbags Cause Recall of 1.4 Million Vehicles
A new problem has been discovered with Takata airbags. At least one death has occurred and the malfunction is different than the defect that led to at least 24 prior deaths and hundreds of injuries worldwide. Takata says this will add about 1.4 million units to previous recalls in the U.S.
Unlike previous recalls, the Takata non-azide inflators do not use volatile ammonium nitrate to fill the air bags in a crash. But the air bag propellant can still deteriorate over time when exposed to moisture and explode too fast, blowing apart the inflator body. They also might not fully inflate to protect people in a crash.
Included in the recall about 116,000 BMW 3-Series cars from the 1999 to 2001 model years. BMW is recommending that people stop driving certain 1999 323i and 328i sedans made from July of 1998 through January of 1999. (About 8,000 definitely have faulty airbags and should be parked). The company also is recalling another 34,000 323i and 328i sedans from 1999-2000 and 323Ci and 328Ci coupes from the 2000 model year. These cars were made from March of 1998 through March of 2000 and have inflators made at two Takata plants that could be defective. A third group of cars, just over 74,000, is being recalled. This group includes 323i, 325i, 328i, 330i sedans from the 1999 through 2001 model years. They were produced from May 1999 through July of 2000 and may have had air bag inflators replaced by defective ones.
In addition, certain Audi, Honda, Toyota and Mitsubishi vehicles made from 1995 to 2000 also are being recalled, but information on which models was not yet available.
Toyota and Honda said they're still figuring out which models will have to be recalled. U.S. safety regulators said they were told by Mitsubishi that the only U.S. vehicle affected is the 1998 through 2000 Montero.
In a statement, Audi said it is investigating whether any 1997 to 1999 model year A4, A6, A8, or TT vehicles are affected in the U.S.
Nineteen automakers are recalling about 70 million inflators in what has become the largest string of automotive recalls in U.S. history. The company is recalling about 100 million inflators worldwide.
The remnants of Takata were purchased by Chinese-owned Key Safety Systems for $1.6 billion (175 billion yen).