More than 12 million U.S. vehicles have now been added to the infamous Takata airbag recall, further impacting eight automakers already overwhelmed by the company’s chaos. Takata’s defective airbag inflators contain a sensitive propellant known as ammonium nitrate that may degrade over time, especially in climates with high humidity. The ammonium nitrate can then force the airbag to inflate with deadly force, blasting metal shrapnel at the vehicle’s occupants.
According to Reuters, Honda will be suffering the brunt of the latest recall expansion, putting another 4.5 million U.S. vehicles on its list. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is recalling an additional 4.3 million vehicles. The latest Takata recall expansion seems to focus on passenger-side airbag inflators.
At least 13 deaths and more than 100 injuries have been linked to the Takata airbag recall thus far. Unfortunately, the numbers are likely to continue to rise as the vehicles impacted by the recall were manufactured all the way back from 2002 through 2011 and include a variety of cars, SUVs and pickup trucks.
The vehicles added to the recall list have not been in any accidents where the airbags exploded, Takata and the affected automakers said. The decision to prioritize these vehicles was due to their risk of exposure to high humidity, as well as their age. Because of these factors, it was believed the defective inflators would not have been replaced by normal means for several years to come.
Recently, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) broke down the remaining Takata airbags still on the roadways: 43.4 million passenger side inflators, 26.9 side airbag inflators and 14.5 million driver side inflators. Government auto safety experts in Japan did not have similar estimates to the NHTSA, but did confirm that there have been 12 million airbags recalled thus far.