General Motors (GM) is being forced to recall around seven million vehicles worldwide, including 544,000 in Canada, in connection with the infamous Takata airbags (the inflators of which can explode and send debris into the faces of occupants). This is after the manufacturer's petition to avoid the recall was rejected.
In fact, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that GM must recall a slew of vehicles from the 2007-2014 model-years because the airbag inflators “are at risk of the same type of explosion after long-term exposure to high heat and humidity as other recalled Takata inflators”. GM estimates that it could cost $1.2 billion USD to replace the airbag inflators it had been trying to avoid repairing.
The company said it would comply with the agency's decision.
“Although we believe a recall of these vehicles is not warranted based on the factual and scientific record, NHTSA has directed that we replace the airbag inflators in the vehicles in question. Based on data generated through independent scientific evaluation conducted over several years, we disagree with NHTSA’s position. However, we will abide by NHTSA’s decision and begin taking the necessary steps.”
- GM statement
GM’s argument was that the airbags in its vehicles are different and don’t not pose a danger. Peter Prieto, a lawyer representing consumers in the Takata lawsuits, said the decision “proves that GM’s Takata inflators are neither unique nor special. GM’s inflators carry the same risk of exploding and severely harming vehicle occupants as all other Takata inflators”.
The faulty Takata airbag inflators, which on exploding can hurtle metal fragments into the faces and bodies of vehicle occupants, with potentially fatal consequences, have resulted in the largest motor-vehicle recall in history, with approximately 100 million airbags affected. The problem has affected 19 major automakers, including GM and Honda, which was the hardest-hit company.
This new recall involves certain Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Sierra and GMC Yukon vehicles built over an eight-year period.
It should be noted that of the 26 deaths worldwide attributable to this issue to date, none have occurred in a GM vehicle.