The Takata airbag recall has grown by leaps and bounds since its first announcement back in 2013; however, the Japanese manufacturer may end up recalling another 70 to 90 million airbag inflators before the recall is entirely finished.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been investigating the Takata inflator defect for years now, but with almost 30 million Takata inflators already under recall, what’s next? Well, if NHTSA continues to find the dangerous inflators, Reuters reports the current number of recalled vehicles could nearly quadruple in size.
The Takata airbag recall has encompassed 14 automakers and nearly 24.4 vehicles across the U.S. thus far. The recall doesn’t blame the airbags themselves, but the inflator within them that may cause the airbag to burst in even small collisions, causing metal shrapnel to fly into the vehicle’s driver and occupants. The defective inflators were found to be responsible for at least 10 deaths so far, as well as 139 crash injuries.
Takata’s North American plants have been named responsible for the “chronic” quality failures in the inflators. These failures are due to the inflators’ ammonium nitrate – an unstable chemical believed to be responsible for the random airbag explosions. Other than the inflator’s chemical usage, Takata and NHTSA have yet to determine any other factors contributing to the issue.
Although Takata has remained silent on the possibility of recall growth through the next few years, NHTSA has commented that it believes it will take years to ensure that all of the affected Takata airbags are off the road and replaced.
“You have no way of knowing,” one of the former Takata managers with direct knowledge of the company’s history of manufacturing issues told Reuters.