Federal Regulators Push for the Recall of 52 Million Airbags Due to Safety Risks
The NHTSA believes the issue stems from a process called friction welding, which was used in the making of the air bags.
Federal regulators are pushing for the recall of approx 52 million air bags made by ARC Automotive and Delphi Automotive that they say are defective and potentially dangerous.
“These air bag inflators may rupture when the vehicle’s air bag is commanded to deploy, causing metal debris to be forcefully ejected into the passenger compartment of the vehicle,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in a statement. “A rupturing air bag inflator poses an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death to vehicle occupants. At least seven people have been injured and one person has been killed by these rupturing air bag inflators within the United States.”
The NHTSA said it's also aware of 2 confirmed air bag ruptures outside of the U.S., one in Turkey and another in Canada, which resulted in a fatality.
The air bags were manufactured from 2000 to 2018 and were installed in vehicles made by BMW, Ford, General Motors, Hyundai, Kia, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Tesla, Toyota, Chrysler, and Volkswagen.
The NHTSA believes the issue stems from a process called friction welding, which was used in the making of the air bags. Friction welding results in a byproduct that can clog a vent inside the inflator canister, causing pressure to build up until it's blown apart.
Federal regulators asked ARC to recall the product in May, but the company refused to do so and said that it believes the injuries “resulted from random ‘one-off’” manufacturing anomalies that were properly addressed.'
The NHTSA will hold a public hearing on October 5, which is a required step before it can pursue a court-ordered recall.