Air Bag Recall Grows to Largest in US History

Posted on May 19, 2015

Takata, a Japanese company that manufactures airbags in millions of vehicles is agreeing to expand its recall to over 34 million vehicles due to problems with the air bag inflators.

Although the recall does not specify the problems with the airbags, investigations show that the airbag inflators have leaky seals. This allows moisture to get into the airbag inflator, and results in airbag explosions with far too much force. These explosions shoot shrapnel throughout the interior of the vehicle. So far, six deaths have been attributed to the exploding airbags. All of the airbag fatalities occurred in Honda manufactured cars.

There are estimates that this recall, the largest in US history, will cost the car makers and the airbag manufacturer between $5 and $6 billion. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration will organize replacement of the defective airbag inflators.

Takata has many legal issues arising from the defective airbags. There are class action lawsuits pending in both Canada and the United States. Government authorities are also conducting administrative and criminal investigations.  This story should unfold over the next several months, maybe even years.