Japan-based automotive parts supplier Takata is about to reach new heights of infamy as the company nearly doubles the size of its already multimillion airbag recall to a whopping total of nearly 34 million recalled cars – the largest automobile recall in history.
The recall continues to claim that the faulty airbags have the potential to explode, bursting sharp metal shrapnel into the face and body of those in the front seats. The recalled airbags have been linked to five deaths thus far and took place primarily in Honda vehicles, likely due to the high number of Honda cars equipped with recalled Takata airbags.
Police reports claim that the victims of the defective airbags appeared to have been shot or stabbed by the looks of the gruesome aftermath. Other victims of the Takata airbags suffered other serious injuries, such as vision impairment from metal fragments exploding into their eyes.
Takata was originally hesitant to launch any recalls less than a year ago, insisting to safety regulators that the airbag issues stemmed from high humidity levels in certain climates. Takata finally agreed to a limited recall of just over 10 million vehicles in June 2014, confined to areas of high humidity. Many automakers were left holding the bag, issuing their own nationwide recalls out of concern for customer safety.
However, it wouldn’t be long before safety officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) called for the limited recalls to be expanded worldwide by Takata and the 10 affected automakers. Prior to today’s announcement, the Takata airbag recall included about 18 million vehicles.
The NHTSA eventually went on to fine Takata $14,000 per day for refusing to cooperate with its investigation of the airbags. The fines reached $1.2 million as of yesterday before being suspended, but stronger fines may be in the future for the airbag supplier.
Vehicles affected by the recall include certain year and models manufactured by BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors (GM), Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota. The NHTSA recommends motorists check their vehicle VIN number on its recalls look-up site, and provides more information about the Takata recalls on its website.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation and NHTSA, a “major” announcement is in the works regarding the recent Takata recall expansion. No comments have yet been made from Takata on the latest airbag report.