Volvo is recalling over 460,00 older vehicles worldwide after one fatality was recorded in connection with decaying airbag inflators. The recall impacts 2001-2006 S60 and 2001-2009 S80 sedans, built between May 2000 and, in the latter case, as late as March 2009. Of the total, close to 260,000 are located in the United States and 7,048 units are in Canada.
In a report sent to the NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Agency) in the U.S., Volvo says it is aware of one case where a ruptured inflator led to the death of a vehicle occupant. Its investigation, which started in August 2020, showed that tablets of propellant in its vehicles’ airbag inflators could decay if exposed to moisture and high temperatures, leading to the formation of dust particles and an eventual rupture.
The problem is similar to the one that affected Takata airbags, which led to a number of deaths worldwide and the largest series of recalls in history. Some 100 million vehicles from many different automakers have been recalled over that problem in the past decade.
The airbag assemblies in the affected Volvos were manufactured by German parts supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG, which participated in Volvo’s investigation.