Takata may have to recall additional 70 to 90 million more airbag inflators

(February 24, 2016) U.S. auto safety regulators are examining whether an additional 70 million to 90 million Takata Corp. airbag inflators should be recalled because they may endanger drivers, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, according to Reuters news service.

That would nearly quadruple the 29 million inflators recalled so far and linked to nine deaths in the U.S. In all, as many as 120 million Takata inflators in U.S. vehicles contain the same volatile chemical — ammonium nitrate — used in inflators that automakers have recalled, according to company documents reviewed by Reuters and verified by two former Takata managers. The total number has not been previously reported.

The Japanese supplier, one of the world's largest airbag manufacturers, has said some inflators can rupture and explode with excessive force, spraying metal shards at vehicle occupants.

The number of vehicles affected remains unclear because many have more than one inflator, and not always from the same manufacturer. Before recent recalls of 5.4 million inflators, federal regulators said about 24 million defective Takata inflators were used in about 19 million vehicles that have been recalled since 2004.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration continues to investigate all Takata inflators using ammonium nitrate, but it has not yet found sufficient evidence to direct automakers to recall the remaining inflators, said spokesman Gordon Trowbridge.

Source: Reuters