Takata airbag fault forces recall of another 1.4 million vehicles

Posted at 10:38 AM, Dec 05, 2019

Faulty Takata airbags have already caused the largest auto recall in history, with tens of millions of cars affected. Now a newly discovered defect has prompted the recall of another 1.4 million vehicles.

These cars were recalled on Wednesday, authorities in the United States said.

As with the wider ongoing recall, the new fault can cause airbag inflators to explode, under-inflate or spew out shrapnel at passengers, raising the risk of serious injury or death, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The airbags involved in the latest recall were found to have "a manufacturing issue," and were fitted to "some brands of 1995-2000 vehicles," the agency said in a notice posted on its website. It gave no further details.

Takata produced and sold around 4.5 million of the airbags with the new fault globally in the late 1990s, but only a fraction of the vehicles fitted with them are likely still being driven, according to government documents .

As many as 41.6 million vehicles with Takata airbags have been recalled in the United States so far, according to the US Department of Transportation. In total, 34 auto brands have been affected, from Ferrari to Ford.

Ruptured airbags have been linked to at least 29 deaths and hundreds of injuries around the globe, according to the Australian government.

The crisis caused Takata to file for bankruptcy in 2017. The Japanese company then sold most of its operations to Key Safety Systems, a Chinese-owned company based in Michigan, for $1.6 billion.

US federal safety regulators have previously said that it could take until 2023 for the recall to be complete — a full 15 years after the first car was ordered back to the workshop.

In the coming month, Takata will be working with automakers to assess which vehicles could be affected by its latest problem, according to US authorities.

"As this work progresses, numerous vehicle recalls will likely be announced," they said .

— Chris Isidore contributed to this report.