Takata – the Japanese airbag manufacturer – is set to recall almost 34 million vehicles in the US after detecting a fault in the device’s mechanisms. This is double the 17 million vehicles estimated and is set to affect manufacturers including Toyota and Nissan amongst others in what will be the largest recall is US auto history.
The company has been dogged by industry reports dating back almost 15 years blaming its exploding airbags for six deaths and more than 100 motoring injuries. In 2008 Honda was forced to recall 4,000 cars fitted with Takata airbags.
Reports of faulty airbags have been vehemently denied by Takata. However, it has now become apparent that the company has accepted responsibility and taken action to rectify this potentially deadly issue. US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx described it as a “major step forward for public safety”.
Takata is yet to identify the route cause of the airbag issue but will replace the driver and passenger airbags across the US. Research by The Transport Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration points the finger of blame at moisture infiltrating the defective inflators causing the airbag units to ignite and burn too quickly when deployed. In result shrapnel is launched violently in the direction of the vehicle occupants.
Earlier recalls had occurred in high humidity areas but these efforts will now traverse the entire US. At this time it is not understood how these recalls will affect cars fitted with Takata airbags in the UK.