By on November 22, 2016

2007 suburban (RL GNZLZ/Flickr)

A crop of General Motors pickups and SUVs left the factory with potentially deadly Takata airbags, but the automaker has won approval to delay their recall.

According to The Detroit News, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has allowed GM to defer repairs on 2.5 million vehicles so it can test the lifespan of the faulty parts. Naturally, there are conditions attached.

The GM vehicles make up a small part of the massive Takata recall, which so far has seen about 70 million vehicles recalled to fix airbag inflators that could explode, leading to serious injury or death. The ammonium nitrate propellant in the inflators breaks down over time — a problem compounded by heat and humidity. So far, the issue has been linked to 11 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

The NHTSA said today that it would grant GM “a short deferral” of its obligation to fix the airbags. Takata airbags are found in certain 2007 to 2011 GM vehicles, including the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon.

In September, the automaker petitioned the road safety regulator in the hopes of conducting long-term tests with the help of a third-party research firm. The tests aim to nail down the safe service life of the Takata components. GM has claimed the inflators in its vehicles are safer than the others, thanks to a more robust design.

If the agreement sounds dicey, make no mistake — the NHTSA has eyes on GM’s experiment and can pull the plug at any time. The automaker must also deliver monthly updates.

“If at any point there is any evidence of a testing or field rupture, NHTSA can immediately act to reject the petition and compel the recall,” NHTSA spokesman Bryan Thomas told The Detroit News. “GM is continuing its work to design replacement inflators in the interim.”

GM feels that even the highest-risk vehicles are safe until the end of 2019, and wants a chance to prove it. The study should be complete by August of next year.

Earlier this year, a dire-sounding NHTSA bulletin targeted Honda and Acura models from the early 2000s, explaining that those vehicles faced a much higher risk of airbag rupture. Since then, a California woman died as a result of an airbag rupture in one of the flagged vehicles.

[Image: RL GNZLZ/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)]

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22 Comments on “GM: Our Takata Airbags Are Better Than Those Other Takata Airbags...”

  • avatar

    Hmm, Santander bank, palm trees, and looks like an early 2000s Peugeot behind it – I think it’s Mexico.

    I have those wheels! The “lug nuts” are actually little plastic caps.

  • avatar

    GM not wanting to issue a recall? GASP. Who’s shocked?

    Not like other car makers haven’t been guilty of that before, though. I’m honestly shocked the NHTSA let them, considering their hounding about the Takata situation.

  • avatar

    Honda’s mess of a possible blood shed could continue?

    • 0 avatar

      I hear another million VINs are coming down the Honda pipeline after the first of the year. Some new cars are getting added, and some already-recalled cars are getting re-recalled.

  • avatar

    Well of course. When the ignition switch turns itself off, there’s no power going to the bags. Problem solved!

  • avatar

    The assumption is that GM had the airbags built to a higher standard than those that were recalled. Entirely possible since each automaker has their parts spec’d out per their individual requirements.

    Still, NHTSA better keep GM on a tight leash…EIGHT of the 20 longest-lasting vehicles in the US are the Silverado/Tahoe and its various siblings. Since they simply are more inclined to stay on the road longer, might they run into airbag issues anyway? If that’s possible, fix anyway.

    • 0 avatar

      This, and owning an impacted vehicle I am not happy with the decision.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I take comfort knowing my takata equiped suburban has spent less than 10 total days in a humid climate and the remaining 9 years up in the mountains.

      Oddly, i believe them when the claim a more robust design. I use toyota frames as example number 1 where domestic tend to go big or go home vs their japanese counterparts. Of course this is also why we personal use pick ups driving around with more torque and hp than a kenworth from 1995. But, i digress.

      • 0 avatar

        unfortunately for my Avalanche, it started out life in North Carolina, on the coast, and then spent the last 8 years in the high desert. If my airbags deploy I’m sure there will be parts of them everywhere.

  • avatar

    Ehhh I don’t see the difference between owning a Takata equipped domestic car that HAS been forced to be recalled, and one that hasn’t.

    Keep in mind these guys aren’t like Honda/Mazda/Toyota, who are bending backwards to fix the situation, get parts made, contact owners, and install the new part.

    The domestics couldn’t give less of a care. From what I gather, until the wreckage that is Takata is purchased and resumes production, the recalled parts will be on indefinite back-order, with the idea that “well, we notified the consumer, so who cares if the parts take years to show up, we are covered from lawsuits….”

    Meanwhile my 08 Milan has been waiting for something….anything…communication wise from Ford as to timeline for getting the passenger bag fixed…for over a year. That alone was enough to steer my latest $25k vehicle purchase elsewhere.

    …And no if you were wondering this doesn’t just affect some odd-ball Mercury. List of cars affected, that Ford has made ZERO effort to begin actually replacing the air bag or even getting the parts made:

    All Mustangs 05-11
    All Rangers 07-11
    All Edge/MKX 07-10

    And of course all Fusions, Milans, MKZs
    2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011.

    That many many millions of cars/affected owners. Likely many times the total volume of all affected Mazdas, however unlike Ford they actually care about their customers and are getting the cars fixed.

    Why so many love Fords is beyond me. The company clearly cares little about long term retained ownership.

    • 0 avatar

      Odd. Ford sent the recall notification for my 2008 Mustang GT to me shortly after the issue became well-known, with at least one follow-up before the notification that the ‘fix’ was available. Had to call 3 dealerships, though, before I found one ready to make the swap, which was done about 6 weeks ago.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      Wasn’t Honda trying to get used car buyers to sign waivers of liability prior to purchase? Sounds like the ones bending over are those customers.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve not seen that at any of my local dealers.

        Any used cars that were on the recall list either got fixed, or parked until parts were available. Existing customers’ cars were fixed, parked and given a rental/loaner, or released with a written warning about the open recall. Now that parts supplies are keeping up with demand, all the loaners are home and Honda is back to begging customers to get their cars fixed.

        Most dealerships are sitting on dozens of airbags that have been ordered for cars and have been waiting a month or more for the customer to come back.

  • avatar

    well, my JTKKT VIN toyota scion xA keeps trucking along. no recalls of any sort, whatsoever. JDM baybee. boring and slow, but this could well could be the last car i ever own as a primary car.

    Im in to scooters (japanese megavespas) as a primary form of transport, so im happy

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