DETROIT (Feb. 25, 2016) — The Takata Corp. airbag inflator mess keeps growing.
A new death — from a Takata shrapnel-spewing airbag inflator that was not included in previous recalls — has resulted in as many as 5 million vehicles being added to the list of 19 million already recalled to replace potentially faulty Takata inflators.
Several auto makers have already issued new recalls to customers. But prompt and diligent compliance simply isn't enough. It's even more critical to determine the root cause in the initially recalled Takata inflator failures — and whether every ammonium-nitrate propellant inflator that Takata has ever manufactured should be replaced. Investigators need Takata's data but, based on its record, not Takata's assessment.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is setting priorities for the order in which recalled airbags are replaced, and it has ordered Takata to prove why all ammonium-nitrate inflators should not be replaced. Other airbag suppliers are assisting Takata to speed production of replacement airbags.
But even without the latest round of recalls, completing the recall process will take years.
Consumer safety requires a solution. NHTSA must establish if any ammonium-nitrate airbag inflators are acceptable, and, if not, order their recall and replacement. Affected manufacturers must keep funding an urgent program to recall and replace recalled Takata airbag inflators and expand those efforts as needed.