By on January 23, 2021


In a fight with NHTSA regulators, Ford came out on the short end again, as more Takata airbags were at issue. This time, it will cost the automaker $610 million, of which they will have to carry the cost in its entirety.

air bag


Takata, the Japanese company whose name is now synonymous with airbag failures and bankruptcy, was at the center of the largest recall in automotive history. That a single supplier was able to put their airbag on so many different vehicles around the world says volumes for globalization and the cost-cutting measures that would lead OEMs to Takata. According to a story, Takata airbag recalls began in 2014, and prior to this week’s announcement, had reached 67 million airbags in more than 40 million vehicles in the U.S. alone.

Previously in Japan, leaders of companies like Takata would publicly declare their guilt, ask all who were affected for their forgiveness, and to clear the names of their families, would commit seppuku. If that term is unfamiliar, it’s also known as hari-kiri, to publicly disembowel yourself to rid yourself and your family of shame. Sadly, to the best of my knowledge, none of the corporate heads of Takata had the decency to observe this tradition, and it should continue to hang over the heads of not only Takata’s directors but their families, too (Ed. note — this is a joke and meant to be taken as such). Three Takata executives, Shinichi Tanaka, Hideo Nakajima, and Tsuneo Chikaraishi, were indicted by a grand jury in Japan. All three had worked for Takata in the U.S. and Japan until around 2015 when it was first noted that there were problems with their airbags.

Ford argued unsuccessfully that the Takata airbags used in the models and years affected by this recall are different than those involved in the previous recalls. NHTSA safety regulators said they still pose a risk and rejected Ford’s assertion. Models covered by the recall include the 2007-11 Ford Ranger, the 2006-12 Fusion, the 2007-10 Edge, the 2006-12 Lincoln Zephyr, and the 2007-10 MKX. You will receive a notification if your vehicle is included in the recall, you can enter the VIN number on Ford’s website, or check with your local Ford dealer. Ford will repair the airbags free of charge, and your local dealer may provide a loaner car if you ask nicely.

[Images: Ford]

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22 Comments on “Ford Bagged Again by NHTSA...”

  • avatar

    That whole Takata fiasco really put a hurting on me. I had 3 cars where both the air bags needed to be replaced. One car twice, and my dealers are an 80 mile round trip away. It was a nightmare, as parts were backordered for a long time.

  • avatar

    I. Suggesting suicide on the internet is a whole thing, and probably not a good idea. The Japanese I have known wouldn’t get this ‘joke’ and could easily misunderstand if read out of context. (Most Americans I know wouldn’t find it funny. [I’m sure the Canadians will chime in with the right opinion, which will be vastly superior to mine.])

    II. Japanese executives are held much more personally liable for their actions than are their American counterparts. This is probably not something we should mock. (It might be something we want to emulate to some extent at some point in the future.)

    III. Airbags are a technological ‘solution’ to address a very real problem. Like any technological ‘solution,’ they bring along their own problems. (They aren’t perfect and we shouldn’t expect them to be, since we aren’t 12 and there is no Utopia.)

    I am using Roman numerals today in honor of our Senate. [Can you direct me to the Circus?]

    • 0 avatar

      Killing people for profit is not funny.

    • 0 avatar

      Good point, your number II. If only American executives were held to a standard even remotely strict. Would the ignition switch scandal have happened? PowerShift? The X cars? Endless Cadillac engine issues? The continuing transmission issues at Ford and Chrysler? GM gaskets?

      Domestic products suffered from the leaders’ lack of responsibility. Being “in charge” was never meant to be a reward for being great. It’s supposed to be a carrying of weight, and taking the hits when things go wrong.

      Detroit execs have always avoided responsibility for their errors, either getting retired with a golden parachute, or being transferred elsewhere when it becomes obvious that their decisions were poor. (Bob Lutz calls this the “pooping pooch syndrome”).

  • avatar

    Good Heavens ToolGuy. Most non-snowflake people I know would find the suggestion of Takata suicide to be funny and typical of the great reading that TTAC offers.

    And who cares if Japanese would not find the joke funny? I like Japan. My last three cars and my photographic gear were all built there. It is a great country but we are in the USA and jokes about Takata, Pearl Harbor and dolphin killers are funny.

  • avatar

    This saga has been going on for so long!

    Years ago when my M35 went for the Takata fix (during which they got oil on my passenger seat and scratched the interior trim on the b-pillar), I had a Q70 3.7 loaner.

    The silver lining was I got to learn how bad the Q70 was, for free.

  • avatar

    Most of the vehicles listed are probably already off the road. A sincere thank you to the Ford engineers who thought an internal water pump was a good idea.

    Yeah, I’m still bitter. I really liked my ’08 MKZ and would probably still be driving it if it weren’t for that fatal flaw. It’s really put me off Ford.

  • avatar

    Takata airbags, the gift that keeps on giving. Got my Subie’s airbag replaced five years ago, but as of a year ago, they wanted to do it again. I no longer owned it. One shudders at the thought that the replacement was good for only four years. The whole saga started back in 2009 with Honda, and pretty much remained with them till 2014, when the wholesale many make balloon went up.

  • avatar

    How much money did auto manufacturers make in 2020? What do you think for 2021? Strikes, shortages, covid shutdowns…

    Ford is having a hard time delivering anything. F150 and Bronco are delayed by a lot. Midsize cars are stifled by processor shortages. Lots of red ink.

    then, think about what a long-term liability punching out VIN numbers has become. In a car nowadays, a valve cover leak is considered a fired hazard and a recall must be issued…

  • avatar

    I thought I saw somewhere that airbags come with a recommended replacement interval anyway. Are some of these older vehicles reaching that interval anyway?

    I know most people don’t actually do this, but…

  • avatar

    Best Overall: Trans-Am SD 455.
    Weirdest: Hurst Rambler
    Classy Sleeper: GS 455
    Garish: Superbird
    Cheap and Fast: Duster/Demon 340

  • avatar

    Best Overall: Trans-Am SD 455.
    Weirdest: Hurst Rambler
    Classy Sleeper: GS 455
    Garish: Superbird
    Cheap and Fast: Duster/Demon 340

  • avatar

    The Cougar in the photo would be cool.

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