GM announced a recall in May 2016 of 1.9 million vehicles for Takata Corp. air bag inflators. The Takata inflators can explode in a crash, sending shrapnel into occupants. Thirteen (13) people have reportedly been killed so far in flying shrapnel incidents resulting from exploding Takata airbags. In June 2016, GM expanded the May recall to include another 600,000 vehicles.
GM does not believe a safety defect affects any of the 6.8 million vehicles, but agreed to the initial recall after meeting with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The NHTSA in May 2016 said it will require 17 automakers to recall another 35-40 million U.S. autos with Takata air bag inflators. Fourteen automakers had previously recalled 24 million vehicles with 28.8 million inflators. The recalled inflators are linked to at least 13 deaths and more than 100 injuries.
GM says No Unreasonable Risk
GM said it believes that “the results of further testing and analysis will demonstrate that the vehicles do not present an unreasonable risk to safety and that no repair will ultimately be required.”
GM Air Bag recall may add 4.3 million
GM has not yet begun performing repairs on its initial 2.5 million recalled vehicles. It has claimed its Takata inflators consist of a unique design which poses no safety risk. GM said its data showed no Takata airbag ruptured in 44,000 deployments in large GM pickups and SUVs.
Takata inflators installed in GM trucks and big SUVs are designed, says GM, with different venting for hot gases released upon airbag deployment. GM has said they are installed in a manner which minimizes moisture exposure. That GM opinion is at odds with the position of U.S. auto regulators, who believe all frontal Takata airbag inflators sans drying agent must be recalled.
NHTSA: Air Bags unsafe over time
NHTSA spokesman Bryan Thomas on July 21said: “The science clearly shows that these inflators become unsafe over time, faster when exposed to humidity and variations of temperature.”
NHTSA also posted guidance on how automakers can petition for permission to alter the recall schedule, but NHTSA cautioned that its guidance should not be used to eliminate some vehicles from the recall.
More than 100 million vehicles worldwide with Takata airbag inflators have been declared defective.