GM Recalling Nearly 6 Million Vehicles Over Eternal Takata Scandal

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

As sure as the sun rises in the morning, we can always count on the Takata airbag recall adding new vehicles to its ranks. General Motors is poised to add another 5.9 million vehicles to the list after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued an announcement on Monday.

Regulators stated that the automaker will be obligated to recall SUVs and pickup trucks (GMT900 vehicles) manufactured between 2007 and 2014 because the installed airbag inflators suffer from the classic Takata trait of being extremely dangerous. While the defect itself is relatively rare, the number of vehicles involved is staggering. Around 100 million inflators have been recalled by 19 major automakers around the world, and the resulting failure is often devastating. Units, especially those exposed to high levels of heat and humidity, can rupture ― causing an explosion that sprays metal fragments all over the cabin. There have been 18 known fatalities relating to the issue in the United States alone.

Most of those took place inside Honda vehicles, with the rest being split between Ford and BMW. While GM has been fatality-free, it’s also come under increasing scrutiny for attempting to avoid recalls by petitioning the NHTSA on multiple occasions.

“Although we believe a recall of these vehicles is not warranted based on the factual and scientific record, NHTSA has directed that we replace the [ammonium nitrate] airbag inflators in the vehicles in question,” GM said in a statement. “Based on data generated through independent scientific evaluation conducted over several years, we disagree with NHTSA’s position. However, we will abide by NHTSA’s decision and begin taking the necessary steps.”

The recall covers GM full-size pickup trucks and SUVs, including the Chevrolet Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, Avalanche, Cadillac Escalade, GMC Sierra, and Yukon. General Motors estimates it will cost around $1.2 billion, which will be over a quarter of its net income this year. Another 1 million vehicles will also need to be recalled globally, bringing the grand total up to 7 million units. GM has 30 days to provide the NHTSA with a proposed schedule for notifying vehicle owners ahead of the U.S. recall.

[Image: General Motors]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Nov 23, 2020

    Ralph Nader, where art thou?

  • DenverMike DenverMike on Nov 23, 2020

    Just remove the whole mess. I'll pay extra. After 10 to 15 years or ownership, I don't want ANY live bombs in my car (or anywhere). That's if I bought it new and know its history.

    • Whynotaztec Whynotaztec on Nov 24, 2020

      You raise an interesting point - is there such a thing as airbag system shelf life? I had a 92 miata that I sold at 23 years of age, and I often wondered about the driver airbag.

  • Redapple2 Another bad idea from the EVIL gm Vampire.
  • Daniel J Alabama is a right to work state so I'd be interested in how this plays out. If a plant in Alabama unionized, there are many workers who's still oppose joining and can work.
  • ToolGuy This guest was pretty interesting.
  • NJRide So this is an average age of car to be junked now and of course this is a lower end (and now semi-orphaned) product. But street examples seem to still be worth 2500? So are cars getting junked only coming in because of a traumatic repair? If not it seems a lot of cars being junked that would still possibly worth more than scrap.Also Murilee I remember your Taurus article way back what is the king of the junkyard in 2024?
  • AMcA I applaud Toyota for getting away from the TRD performance name. TuRD. This is another great example of "if they'd just thought to preview the name with a 13 year old boy."