National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has ordered Ford to issue a recall for a pesky little problem that could potentially impact three million of its US-based cars: the Takata airbag inflators could rupture, sending deadly metal fragments flying into passengers. It’s estimated to have an impact on about $610 million worth of machinery.
This defect has “prompted the largest automotive recall in U.S. history,” Reuters reports, with 67 million individual inflators in 2.7 million U.S. vehicles being recalled. For some perspective, there have only (“only”) been 100 million inflator recalls by 19 different automakers worldwide.
And, yes, Ford has protested that it hasn’t found enough evidence to issue a recall but will “respect NHTSA’s decision and will issue a recall.” The company also disclosed that it’s looking at a $1.2 billion loss just from this recall alone.
That being said, Takata’s issue has been linked to 18 deaths in the United States alone. In one instance, a driver in a car crash was killed after his airbag ruptured and then lit on fire. In addition to the deaths, 400 drivers or passengers have been injured as a result of these airbag faults, leaving some blinded or maimed. Seems to be a good enough reason as any to issue a recall with no complaints.
Here are the cars being recalled, from CNN:
- 2007 to 2011 Ford Ranger
- 2006 to 2012 Ford Fusion
- 2006 to 2012 Lincoln Zephyr
- 2007 to 2010 Ford Edge
- 2007 to 2010 Lincoln MKX
In addition, Mazda has been required to recall 5,800 air bag inflators in 2007–2009 B-Series pickup trucks. NHTSA also rejected a General Motors petition asking to be exempted from the recall of seven million vehicles with Takata airbags.
Ford spokesperson Monique Brentley noted that “unlike other Takata passenger-side airbag parts previously under recall, these driver-side airbags contain a moisture-absorbing [material] and perform differently.”
NHTSA, however, rejected any evidence submitted by Ford under the belief that these airbags deteriorate over time. It ultimately decided that “what Ford presents here, while valuable and informative in certain respects, suffers from far too many shortcomings.”
You can enter your VIN number on the NHTSA website to see if your car is listed in the recalls.