Exclusive: U.S. opens probe into 30 million vehicles over air bag inflators

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WASHINGTON, Sept 19 (Reuters) – U.S. auto security investigators have opened a brand new probe into 30 million autos constructed by almost two dozen automakers with probably faulty Takata air bag inflators, a authorities doc seen by Reuters on Sunday confirmed.

The Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration (NHTSA) on Friday opened an engineering evaluation into an estimated 30 million U.S. autos from the 2001 by way of 2019 mannequin years. Automakers had been alerted to the investigation, which isn’t but public.

The brand new investigation consists of autos assembled by Honda Motor Co , Ford Motor Co , Toyota Motor Corp , Normal Motors Co , Nissan Motor , Subaru , Tesla , Ferrari NV , Nissan Motor , Mazda , Daimler AG , BMW Chrysler (now a part of Stellantis NV ), Porsche Automobiles , Jaguar Land Rover (owned by Tata Motors ) and others.

The automakers on Sunday both declined to remark earlier than NHTSA’s anticipated public announcement on Monday, or didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark. NHTSA declined to remark.

The 30 million autos embody each autos that had the inflators put in once they had been manufactured in addition to some inflators that had been utilized in prior recall repairs, NHTSA mentioned within the doc.

Over the past decade, greater than 67 million Takata air bag inflators have been recalled in the US — and greater than 100 million worldwide — within the largest auto security callback in historical past as a result of inflators can ship lethal steel fragments flying in uncommon cases.

There have been no less than 28 deaths worldwide, together with 19 in the US tied to defective Takata inflators and greater than 400 accidents.

Heavy vehicular site visitors is seen within the Ocean Seaside neighbourhood of San Diego, California, U.S., forward of the Fourth of July vacation July 3, 2020. REUTERS/Bing Guan

The 30 million autos which are a part of the brand new investigation have inflators with a “desiccant” or drying agent. In accordance with the doc, NHTSA mentioned there have been no reported ruptures of autos on the roads with air bag inflators with the drying agent.

“Whereas no current security threat has been recognized, additional work is required to guage the long run threat of non-recalled desiccated inflators,” NHTSA mentioned in opening its engineering evaluation seen by Reuters. “Additional examine is required to evaluate the long-term security of desiccated inflators.”

NHTSA has mentioned the reason for the inflator explosions tied to the recall of 67 million inflators that may emit lethal fragments is propellant breaking down after long-term publicity to excessive temperature fluctuations and humidity. The company has required all comparable Takata with out a drying agent to be recalled.

In the US, 16 deaths in Honda autos have been reported, two in Ford autos and one in a BMW, whereas 9 different Honda deaths occurred in Malaysia, Brazil and Mexico.

NHTSA didn’t instantly launch a breakdown of what number of autos per producer are lined by the probe.

The protection company mentioned the investigation “would require intensive data on Takata manufacturing processes and surveys of inflators within the area.”

Earlier this yr, NHTSA mentioned of the 67 million recalled inflators, roughly 50 million have been repaired or are in any other case accounted for.

Reporting by David Shepardson; modifying by Diane Craft


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