Takata Corp. has recalled 2.7 million more air bag inflators built between 2005 and 2012 and installed in Ford, Nissan and Mazda vehicles sold in the U.S. The recall was because tests have shown predictors of future explosions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced this recall. Takata says it isn’t aware of any ruptures involving the inflators at issue in NHTSA’s report. The inflators all use calcium sulfate as a desiccant, or drying agent, and were used in the U.S. as original driver-side airbags.
The latest report by NHTSA applies only to the earliest generation of such inflators, which were installed in vehicles sold by Ford Motor Co., Mazda North American Operations and Nissan North America Inc. Takata and Nissan started recovering and evaluating vehicles with the inflators in March 2016, and Ford agreed to a similar project three months later. Since then, those inflators have been tested, and Takata determined that they are at risk of future explosions. Inflators installed in Mazdas haven’t been tested, according to NHTSA.
None of the inflators ruptured during testing, but some showed a pattern of declining propellant density over time that’s understood to predict a future risk of inflator rupture, which could send metal shrapnel through the airbags, hurting or killing vehicle occupants. Inflator design and vehicle environment differences may influence how they age, according to NHTSA. Based on the tests, the potential for such ruptures may happen after several years of exposure to persistently high humidity, but other factors may also play a role, the government said.
Takata told NHTSA that it plans to work with the automakers to implement appropriate recalls to replace the inflators. A Mazda spokeswoman said in a statement that about 6,000 B-Series trucks from model years 2007-2009 sold in the U.S. are affected by the recall. She also said that there have been no incidents or abnormal air bag deployments in the Mazda vehicles covered by the recall.
Nissan told Law360 that the inflators were installed on nearly 627,000 Nissan Versas sold worldwide – about 515,000 in the U.S. – from model years 2007-2012 and that there are no known incidents associated with the inflator. Owners of the affected vehicles will be given further instructions within the next 60 days, Nissan said. Ford said that it’s aware of Takata’s plan and has been in regular contact with NHTSA on the issue. The company also said it isn’t aware of any incidents involving the inflator.
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