Exclusive: US begins investigation of 30 million vehicles on airbag inflators

Heavy vehicular traffic is seen in the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Diego, California, US, ahead of the July 4 holiday July 3, 2020. Reuters/Bing Guan

WASHINGTON, Sep 19 (Reuters) – US auto safety investigators have opened a new investigation into 30 million vehicles manufactured by nearly two dozen automakers with potentially faulty Takata air bag inflators, a government document seen by Reuters on Sunday showed has gone.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Friday opened an engineering analysis of an estimated 30 million US vehicles from the 2001 to 2019 model years. Automakers were alerted to the investigation, which is not yet public.

Assembled by Honda Motor Company (7267.T), Ford Motor Company (FN), Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), General Motors Company (GM.N), Nissan Motor (7201.T), Subaru in the new test Vehicles are included. (7270.T), Tesla (TSLA.O), Ferrari NV, Nissan Motor (TAMO.NS), Mazda (7261.T), Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE), BMW (BMWG.DE) Chrysler (now part of ) Stelantis NV (STLA.MI)), Porsche Cars (PSHG_p.DE), Jaguar Land Rover (owned by Tata Motors (TAMO.NS)) and others.

Automakers on Sunday either declined to comment, or did not immediately respond to requests for comment, ahead of NHTSA’s expected public announcement on Monday. NHTSA declined to comment.

NHTSA said in the document that the 30 million vehicles included both the vehicles when they were manufactured, as well as some of the inflators that were used in prior recall repairs.

Over the past decade, more than 67 million Takata air bag inflators have been recalled in the United States — and more than 100 million worldwide — in the largest auto safety callback in history because inflators are in rare instances the lethal metal that blows away. Pieces can be sent.

There have been at least 28 deaths worldwide, including 19 in the United States tied to faulty Takata inflators and more than 400 injuries.

The 30 million vehicles that are part of the new investigation are inflated with a “desiccant,” or drying agent. According to the document, NHTSA said that there have been no reports of vehicles breaking down on roads with air bag inflators with drying agent.

NHTSA said in opening its engineering analysis seen by Reuters, “While no current safety risk has been identified, further work is needed to evaluate the future risk of non-recalled desiccated inflators. ” “Further studies are needed to assess the long-term safety of dry inflators.”

NHTSA has said that the inflator explosions associated with the recall of 67 million inflators that emit lethal particles are caused by the breakdown of propellant after prolonged exposure to high temperature fluctuations and humidity. The agency is required to recall all similar Takata without drying agent.

In the United States, there have been 16 fatalities in Honda vehicles, two in Ford vehicles and one in BMW, while another 9 Honda deaths occurred in Malaysia, Brazil and Mexico.

NHTSA did not immediately release a breakdown of how many vehicles come under scrutiny per manufacturer.

The security agency said the investigation would require “extensive information on Takata production processes and surveys of inflators in the area.”

Earlier this year, NHTSA said that of the 67 million recalled inflators, about 50 million have been repaired or otherwise accounted for.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Diane Craft

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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