More expansions will happen through the end of 2019.
At the beginning of May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requested that Takata recall 35 million to 40 million airbag inflators that lacked a desiccant – a substance to absorb moisture. Now, eight automakers in the United States have announced 12.05 million vehicles in need of new inflators as part of this safety campaign.
The automakers outlining their expanded recalls include: Subaru, Mazda, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Nissan, Honda, Ferrari, Toyota, and Mitsubishi. NHTSA splits the U.S. into specific zones to coordinate this massive campaign, and companies are prioritizing their repairs based on the potential danger to drivers. For example, Zone A includes hot and humid areas that are most at risk for an inflator rupture. The likelihood of the components bursting decreases through Zones B and C. To see if your vehicle and region is currently part of this safety campaign, refer to the details from NHTSA in the Press Release section below.
NHTSA believes that parts without a desiccant are essentially ticking time bombs in these vehicles. Exposure to high heat and humidity degrades the parts’ ammonium-nitrate propellant, and the chemical ignites too quickly upon deployment. Without a substance to absorb some of this moisture, the safety regulator thinks these components could be dangerous. Experts blame the rupturing inflators for 13 deaths worldwide and over 100 injuries. The latest expansion comes in addition to the previous recall for 28.8 million Takata inflators in the US.
This won’t be the end of these recalls, either. NHTSA will continue to request the replacement for increasingly recent vehicles until December 2019. By that time, there will no longer be any of the parts without a desiccant on the road.
The ever-expanding recall could cost Takata billions of dollars, and an outside investor might takeover the struggling company. According to Bloomberg, Several equity firms, including one called KKR, are in negotiations to buy a controlling stake in the Japanese auto supplier. The new owner would presumably restructure the business to pay off the safety campaign, which could mean selling off some of its divisions.
Source: Bloomberg, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration