NHTSA Could Add More Automakers to Takata Inflator Campaign
23 October 2015 - Autoblog
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration appears primed to add more automakers to the Takata airbag inflator campaign at a meeting on October 22.
Without going into specific detail, agency boss Mark Rosekind is nearly confirming the decision to Reuters. "We'll try to be very specific on Thursday but it goes beyond the 11," he said. At this time, it's not clear whether that means additional vehicles being recalled or if the investigation is just spreading to the new companies.
While contemplating a possible Takata expansion, NHTSA has been doing detective work to find any other automakers using the supplier's inflators with ammonium nitrate propellant. That research has shown Volkswagen and Tesla were reportedly among the companies using those parts, and the agency sent letters in September to gather more data from Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, and several others.
The Takata recall might also grow because NHTSA believes that vehicle design can play a role in whether the inflators burst when the airbag deploys, Reuters reports. This is because high humidity is among the factors with a link to the explosions. A model with a cabin that lets in more moisture might therefore carry a higher risk of the fault.
The faulty Takata inflators have been blamed for eight deaths and at least 100 injures across the globe. At last count in early September, there were still 19.2 million vehicles with 23.4 million bad parts to be replaced in the US. Originally, nearly 34 million models were thought to need new components.