U.S. Tells Auto Makers They Don’t Have to Recall 56 Million Takata Air Bag Inflators

By | May 7, 2020

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Thursday it will not require automakers to recall 56 million additional Takata air bag inflators, saying the devices do not pose a safety risk.

Automakers in the United States have previously recalled than 60 million Takata air bag inflators that could explode when deployed, sending deadly metal fragments flying in a defect linked to at least 25 deaths worldwide.

The agency said it will continue to monitor their performance over time. NHTSA said separately Volkswagen AG will recall 370,000 vehicles with Takata inflators with the drying agent.

The issue sparked the largest auto industry safety recall in history, involving more than 100 million inflators among 19 major automakers worldwide and is linked to more than 290 injuries.

In 2016, NHTSA ordered the recall of 40 million inflators and said it would review by the end of 2019 whether the air bags with a “dessicant” or drying agent needed to be recalled.

The agency has said long-term exposure to high heat and humidity degrade the inflators, making them more prone to deadly ruptures.

NHTSA said it has reviewed reports of extensive testing of the inflators in making the decision and said a group testing inflators “will further surveil and assess” those inflators “and their performance in the field.”

The defect led Takata to file for bankruptcy protection in June 2017.

Earlier in 2017, the company agreed to plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing to resolve a U.S. Justice Department investigation. Prosecutors in Detroit charged three former senior Takata executives with falsifying test results to conceal the inflator defect but none of the Japanese nationals have appeared in a U.S. court.

Starting in 2000, Takata submitted false test reports to automakers to induce them to buy faulty air bag inflators, according to the Justice Department.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Franklin Paul and Nick Zieminski)

Topics USA Auto

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