GM wants to push back part of its Takata airbag recall because the company is still researching the affected inflators.
General Motors requested permission from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a one-year delay in replacing Takata-supplied passenger airbag inflators in some vehicles. As part of NHTSA’s phased repair campaign, the recall for the parts in these GM vehicles begins December 31, 2016. The automaker now wants authorization to extend the start date to December 31, 2017, while the company continues to research the problem. The safety agency should have decision by November 16, according to Automotive News.
If NHTSA accepts the proposal, the delay would affect 980,000 vehicles from the GMT900 family of models, according to Automotive News. The recall specifically covers:
- 2009-2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500 HD
- 2009-2011 GMC Sierra 2500/3500 HD
- 2007-2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Avalanche, Tahoe, Suburban
- 2007-2011 GMC Sierra 1500, Yukon, Yukon XL
- 2007-2011 Cadillac Escalade, Escalade EXT, Escalade ESV
GM is working with research company Orbital ATK to investigate the dangers of Takata’s airbag inflators as they age in the GMT900 pickups and SUVs. The testing includes cycling the parts through high heat and humidity to simulate the worst possible conditions. According to Automotive News, the final analysis won’t be ready until August 2017, which will be several months after the recall’s currently scheduled start date.
There are no reports of inflator ruptures in this population of trucks and SUVs, and the automaker doesn’t think the one-year delay would put drivers in danger. “GM believes these inflators will likely perform as designed until at least December 31, 2019,” the company said in a statement.
Takata’s faulty airbag inflators use ammonium nitrate as a propellant. Problems with the components’ manufacturing can allow moisture to contact this chemical, especially in high-humidity areas. Over long periods of time, the dampness alters the way that the inflator deploys and can cause it to rupture. The issue has links to 14 deaths worldwide and over 100 injuries. NHTSA fined the company $200 million for delaying the recall.
Source: Automotive News, General Motors
GM shares with NHTSA a strong commitment to customer safety.
GM is taking a systematic, engineering-based approach to better understanding the performance of Takata inflators installed in GM vehicles, and GM continues to share this information with NHTSA on a regular basis.
GM has submitted a petition asking NHTSA to defer for one year the next round of Takata equipment recalls for airbag inflators in certain 2007-2012 GM full-size trucks and SUVs, currently schedule to be filed by Takata on December 31, 2016. This petition was filed in accordance with paragraph 17 of NHTSA’s May 3, 2016 amendment to the Takata Consent Order and subsequent NHTSA guidance documents.
This one-year deferral would permit GM and Orbital ATK to complete a long-term aging study and fully analyze the service life of these inflators in the GMT900 family of trucks and SUVs.
Based on current field and ballistic test data, GM believes these vehicles are safe to drive and that the propellant in these inflators is not currently at risk. GM believes these inflators will likely perform as designed until at least December 31, 2019.
An estimated 44,000 Takata passenger airbag inflators have deployed in GMT900 vehicles without a single reported rupture.
To better understand the field performance of these inflators and better predict service life, GM also has analyzed and safely deployed more than 1,000 Takata passenger airbag inflators from the oldest affected GMT900 vehicle population in the highest-risk region. Some of these inflators were subjected to an estimated seven years of additional aging in a laboratory environment, with humidity and temperature cycling representative of Zone A climate conditions during the hottest, most humid time of the year.
GM will continue to update NHTSA regarding the status of its ongoing investigation.