Defunct airbag manufacturer Takata is back in the news with the announcement of a new recall
It’s been a while since we’ve heard the name Takata in the news regarding their defective airbag inflators. Considering the damage these have done, which includes the deaths of over 20 people worldwide, no news really was good news.
Unfortunately, a new defect has been found in the airbags installed in around 1.4 million older vehicles. The issue this time affects “non-azide” driver airbag inflators, which do not make use of ammonium nitrate; these were in use between 1995 and 2000.
In these airbags, moisture can accumulate and have two consequences: the airbags could inflate but not fully in the case of a collision, or else they could inflate too quickly and explode.
"In the event of a crash necessitating air bag deployment, an inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants. An underinflated air bag may not properly protect the occupant. These scenarios increase the risk of serious injury or death."
- Recall document
Takata is aware of several cases of these particular airbags malfunctioning, one of which resulted in the death of a driver in Australia a few months ago. One of the shocking elements of that incident is that it was entirely avoidable, having occurred over three years after the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) warned Takata about the problem after a first reported incident in 2012. An investigation launched in 2016 and completed last year was unable to prove a cause and effect.
This time around, the models impacted by the recall carry the BMW, Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota and Mitsubishi badges. BMW is the first company to have made public which models are included in the new recall, most notably, over 100,000 3 Series cars made between 1999 and 2001.
The incident involving the death in Australia involved a 1998 BMW 3 Series.