NHTSA – Automakers must recall an additional 70 million to 90 million airbags?!

Saab Airbag

Reuters is reporting that the number of Takata airbag inflators recalled in the United States could nearly quadruple, with the addition of between 70 and 90 million units. That could bring the total of recalled Takata airbag inflators containing ammonium nitrate to as high as 120 million.

Today, s group of 10 carmakers known as the Independent Testing Coalition hired a company called Orbital ATK (which works with rocket propulsion-systems) to conduct its own tests of suspect Takata airbag inflators. The conclusions, according to Automotive News, are that “it was the combination of these three factors—the use of ammonium nitrate, the construction of Takata’s inflator assembly, and the exposure to heat and humidity—that made the inflators vulnerable to rupture.” These results are consistent with Takata’s internal testing as well as testing by the Fraunhofer Group.

Hirsch Performance Steering Wheel
Hirsch Performance Steering Wheel

NHTSA spokesman Gordon Trowbridge said all ammonium nitrate inflators made by Takata remain under investigation as part of a consent order Takata signed in November.

“All of those inflators must eventually be recalled in the absence of proof they are safe,” Trowbridge said in an email. “The number of inflators that may eventually be recalled under that consent order is in the multiple tens of millions.”

General Motors Co on Tuesday said it is recalling about 200,000 vehicles of its former brands Saab and Saturn as part of a wider recall of more than 5 million cars with potentially defective air bag inflators made by Takata Corp.  The models recalled are Saab 9-3 from model years 2003 to 2011 andSaab 9-5 from 2010 and 2011 model years.

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