The Anti-Takata: GM Says Airbags in 3.6 Million Vehicles Might Not Deploy

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
the anti takata gm says airbags in 3 6 million vehicles might not deploy

General Motors has a doozy of a recall on its hands after admitting that 3.64 million vehicles in the U.S. are equipped with airbags that might not deploy in the event of a crash.

The automaker has announced a voluntary recall of numerous 2014-2017 models to fix the issue, which can also disable seatbelt pretensioners. There remains a bit of mystery as to the “certain rare circumstances” that can disable the airbags.

Unlike the massive Takata recall, the problem with this crop of GM airbags isn’t that they’re dangerous, rather, some simply might not work.

GM blames the issue on faulty software in the sensing and diagnostic module (SDM). In the most common collisions, the airbags function as intended. However, the automaker claims that airbags and pretensioners fail to function in crashes “preceded by a specific event impacting vehicle dynamics.”

The automaker didn’t elaborate on what that specific event is.

Included in the recall are certain 2014-2016 model year Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet SS and Spark EV models, 2014-2017 model year Chevrolet Corvette, Trax, Caprice PPV and Silverado 1500s, Buick Encores and GMC Sierra 1500s, and 2015-2017 model year Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban and Silverado HDs, GMC Yukon, Yukon XL and Sierra HDs, and Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESVs.

GM is urging owners to check their vehicle identification numbers to see if they’re part of the recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers a search tool for this.

The automaker claims the recall — despite its scope — isn’t “expected to be material and will be included in GM’s third quarter earnings.”

[Image: General Motors]

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2 of 9 comments
  • 05lgt 05lgt on Sep 12, 2016

    Let me sarcastically guess, the airbags and seatbelt pretensioners don't work if the ABS is engaged at the time of impact. Wait; that's my actual, non-sarcastic best guess. Some idiot fixed a current surge deployment problem with an ABS on crash sensor defeat.

  • Shortest Circuit Shortest Circuit on Sep 13, 2016

    "certain rare circumstances" = edge cases that got missed while testing the software just like with the infamous Toyota ECUs with the overflow causing a hanged task... that read the accelerator pedal position. Natch.

  • Probert There's something wrong with that chart. The 9 month numbers for Tesla, in the chart, are closer to Tesla's Q3 numbers. They delivered 343,830 cars in q3 and YoY it is a 40% increase. They sold 363,830 but deliveries were slowed at the end of the quarter - no cars in inventory. For the past 9 months the total sold is 929,910 . So very good performance considering a major shutdown for about a month in China (Covid, factory revamp). Not sure if the chart is also inaccurate for other makers.
  • ToolGuy "...overall length grew only fractionally, from 187.6” in 1994 to 198.7” in 1995."Something very wrong with that sentence. I believe you just overstated the length by 11 inches.
  • ToolGuy There is no level of markup on the Jeep Wrangler which would not be justified or would make it any less desirable [perfectly inelastic demand, i.e., 'I want one']. Source: My 21-year-old daughter.
  • ToolGuy Strong performance from Fiat.
  • Inside Looking Out GM is like America, it does the right thing only after trying everything else.  As General Motors goes, so goes America.