The Takata airbag fiasco appears to be a never-ending struggle with Honda recently having to issue a stop-drive notice on roughly 8,200 automobiles manufactured about 20 years ago. Due to the massive scale of the Takata airbag recalls, there are still more than a few units out there that have yet to be replaced. Though it seems like those in possession of these dangerous inflators had to have been living under a rock to have missed any mention of what turned out to be the largest recall campaign in automotive history.
The latest data from Carfax has indicated that roughly 50 million U.S. vehicles presumed to still be in operation still have outstanding recalls that have yet to be addressed. Though the good news is that this represents a 6 percent decline from 2021 and a meaningful 19 percent drop against 2017.
Still, the metrics may not be wholly down to better communication on the part of the manufacturer and people taking recall notices more seriously. Between 2013 and 2015, the average number of U.S. vehicles and equipment subjected to recalls per year went from 26.3 million to 83.6 million. While the annual averages have come back down since, recalls have remained substantially higher than in decades past.
The Takata airbag recall was the largest in the automotive industry. So large, in fact, that we don’t actually know how many defective units are still floating around out there.
With the recall encompassing over 100 million airbag inflators sold around the world with the potential to kill occupants with shrapnel, keeping tabs was always going to be difficult. But Blomberg is reporting that it’s effectively impossible to account for all of them, noting that there are parts of the planet where the affected customers weren’t ever notified. We still haven’t even managed to fix all the units we knew were shipped in the United States, with at least 14 million potentially deadly inflators still presumed to be on the road as of July.
It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your Ford with Takata airbags is?
Ford needs to recall just 45 Takata airbags from 2004-2006 Rangers, but it lost track of which trucks have them. So it’s recalled just over 153,000 old Rangers instead, hoping that casting such a wide net will allow the company to find and replace the faulty airbags.
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.
On Saturday, Honda Motor Co. confirmed another death linked to faulty Takata airbag inflation units. While this is the seventeenth known fatality within the United States related to the defect, at least 26 deaths have been tabulated globally with nearly 300 injuries on the books since 2009. But it’s assumed the actual numbers are quite a bit larger since the affected vehicles go back much further than that.
The most recent incident involved a 2002 model year Honda Civic that crashed on August 20th in Mesa, Arizona. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Honda jointly confirmed the airbag inflator as the culprit. Unfavorable conditions had led to the defective part rupturing during an accident after the propellant had broken down, causing the system to spray shrapnel inside the cabin just inches from the driver’s chest.
Honda Motor Co. has agreed to pay $84.2 million to settle an investigation conducted by American states regarding its use of the famously defective Takata airbags — units linked to numerous deaths and hundreds of injuries.
Honda recalled about 12.9 million vehicles (some of them Acura models) equipped with inflation devices that ran the risk of accumulating moisture to the point where the propellant inside could destabilize, leading to an overly forceful explosion during an impact. Upon rupturing, these units could effectively spray shrapnel into the cabin area.
While Honda’s first major recalls were enacted in 2008, by 2013 millions of vehicles were in the process of being retracted by rival manufacturers that also used Takata as a supplier. And it just kept getting bigger until it was the largest recall in history, with Honda receiving the most ire due to the high number of fatalities suffered within its vehicles — and for having prior knowledge of the defects.
Automakers could be staring down the barrel of another brutally large airbag recall as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration evaluates the long-term safety of inflators manufactured by the now-bankrupt Takata. Earlier this month, the parts supplier announced a recall affecting 1.4 million additional vehicles following the death of a BMW driver. Several new injuries also stemmed from the issue.
At the same time, the U.S. road safety regulator had to make a decision as to whether the roughly 100 million inflators containing a chemical drying agent intended to solve the problem are actually safe.
So far, it’s looking like a no.
The largest automotive recall in history just got a little more inclusive. Takata is recalling another 1.4 million vehicles after the airbag-related death of a BMW driver. The German manufacturer has issued three recalls covering roughly 116,000 U.S. vehicles containing the faulty equipment, saying it is aware of at least one fatality in Australia, plus a few injuries.
By now, you’re probably familiar with the issue. Takata supplied tens of millions of defective air-bag inflators over several years. The units are prone to exploding in the event of a crash, spraying metal shrapnel inside the cabin, after its propellant becomes compromised by nothing more than moisture. This has led to many senseless deaths, the largest automotive recall in history, and Takata declaring bankruptcy two years ago before its purchase by China’s Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp.
Tuesday was — accidentally, it turns out — all about the Ford Ranger, at least for those with no interest in Tesla and its business machinations. As we await the return of the midsize pickup’s online build and price tool, Ford is taking an unusual step to get old versions of the truck into the repair shop.
The automaker is offering dealers cash for every 2006 Ranger they can track down and pull off the road.
After alerting drivers of nearly 3,000 2006 Ranger pickups last month, Ford Motor Company wants the owners of another 33,428 trucks to stop driving their vehicle, get out, and walk away.
The vehicles involved in this latest “stop driving” order are, like the other crop, all presently under recall for a potentially deadly airbag defect, though recent tests show they could be especially dangerous in the event of an airbag deployment. Ford singled out the earlier group of vehicles after discovering a connection between two airbag-related deaths in the United States. The unstable Takata airbag inflators found in both vehicles, which detonated and sprayed both crash victims with metal shards, were assembled on the same day.
These 33,428 Rangers could be equally dangerous, the company says.
Some 2,900 Ford Ranger pickups from the 2006 model year pose such a high risk to their owners, Ford Motor Company wants those people to stop driving them immediately. So great is the concern, Ford is recalling vehicles already named in an earlier recall, just so it can identify who the owners are.
Of the 21 deaths and hundreds of injuries reported from exploding Takata airbags, only two fatalities occurred in vehicles not built by Honda. A Ranger airbag explosion in 2015 killed a female driver. Now, the automaker claims it has discovered the July 2017 death of a West Virginia driver was also the result of a Takata inflator — and that both victims’ inflators were manufactured on the same day.
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