Takata Airbag Recall Expanded to 33.8M Vehicles, It’s the Largest Consumer Recall in US History

Takata airbag 1 photo
Photo: Takata
There can’t be any sugarcoating about what’s dubbed the largest consumer recall in US history. The Takata Corp. finally yielded to regulators’ pressure and came clean about its infamous defective airbag recall. The Japanese outfit acknowledged that 33.8 million vehicles are equipped with sub-standard airbags.
Factually speaking, the previous largest consumer recall in US history happened in 1982 when 31 million bottles of Tylenol were taken off the shelves, with a retail value of over $100 million. According to the US Department of Transportation, Takata filed a defect report then entered Consent Order, with the NHTSA nominated to oversee the remedy program. The process “could take years,” we're told.

US Transport Secretary Anthony Foxx announces: "Today is a major step forward for public safety. The Department of Transportation is taking the proactive steps necessary to ensure that defective inflators are replaced with safe ones as quickly as possible, and that the highest risks are addressed first. We will not stop our work until every airbag is replaced." To date, these faulty Takata airbags have been blamed for six deaths.

Both the driver and passenger side airbag inflators were assembled with a propellant that can degrade over time and has led to abnormal ruptures under deployment. In some cases, the inflator’s deployment launched bits of metal shrapnel into the car’s cabin, which is a serious threat to driver and passenger safety.

Curiously enough, testing and investigations haven’t yet established a real cause of the malfunctions. To date, most investigations hinted at moisture infiltrating the explosive mix acting as the propellant of the defective Takata airbag inflators.

If you don’t know whether your car is equipped with a potentially defective airbag, we recommend to follow this link and use the NHTSA’s VIN search tool to find out. Models from BMW, Chrysler, Daimler Trucks, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota make up the 33.8M tally.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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