In the wake of another death linked to an exploding Takata air bag inflator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced on its website that more safety recalls affecting an estimated 5.1 million vehicles are on the way.
The driver death, which occurred Dec. 22 in a 2006 model-year Ford Ranger in South Carolina, is the ninth fatality in the U.S. tied to defective air bag inflators manufactured by Takata Corp.
Another fatality occurred in Malaysia in 2014. An exploding air bag inflator in an August fatal crash in India is also under investigation.
The future recalls in the U.S. will involve two different types of air bag inflators: SDI model inflators for driver-side frontal air bag modules installed in certain Audi, Ford, Mazda, Sprinter and Volkswagen vehicles; and PSDI-5 model inflators for air bag modules installed in certain Audi, BMW, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Saab, Toyota and Volkswagen vehicles, according to NHTSA.
The Takata SDI driver-side air bag inflators at issue were manufactured from Jan. 1, 2002, through the end of the production cycle for 2014 model-year vehicles, NHTSA reported. Air bags with these inflators were installed as original or replacement equipment in an estimated 1.2 million vehicles in the U.S.
The Takata PSDI-5 air bag inflators were manufactured from Jan. 1, 2003, through the end of the production cycle for 2014-MY vehicles. Air bags with these inflators were installed as original or replacement equipment in 3.9 million vehicles. Toyota has already launched a recall campaign to address these defective inflators. Additionally, inflators installed as part of a previous recall aren’t affected, NHTSA reported.
To facilitate the upcoming recalls, Takata Corp. has declared both of these types of air bag inflators defective.
“Takata will be working with vehicle manufacturers to identify into which vehicles the affected inflators were installed either as original or replacement equipment during service,” NHTSA said. “As this work progresses, numerous vehicle recalls will likely be announced by the impacted vehicle manufacturers. NHTSA will supply this information as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, Ford Motor Co. has already expanded its recall of Takata-made air bag inflators in response to the reported death in the 2006 Ford Ranger. The automaker is recalling an additional 361,692 2004-2006 Ford Ranger trucks in the U.S. so the defective SDI driver-side air bag inflators can be replaced at no cost to affected vehicle owners.
Previous Takata air bag inflator recalls in the U.S. have affected about 19 million vehicles made by 12 different vehicle manufacturers, according to NHTSA. During air bag deployment, the defective inflators have the potential to explode and disperse shrapnel inside the vehicle.