Fiat Chrysler, Honda expand Takata airbag recalls
WASHINGTON — Following Takata Corp.’s admission last week that its defective airbags were in millions of U.S. vehicles, Fiat Chrysler will add more than 1.8 million vehicles vehicles to its Takata recalls while American Honda will add roughly 350,000 to its campaigns.
The two companies are the first automakers to expand recalls after Takata declared airbag inflators in some 34 million vehicles were defective, roughly double the number that had been recalled to date .
The parts can explode in a crash and spray vehicle occupants with metal shards. The defect has been linked to six deaths and more than 100 injuries.
FCA said in a statement that it will widen a previous recall for driver-side Takata airbags by 1.4 million vehicles to 4.07 million. The expansion covers vehicles from additional model years that need to be recalled, in addition to variants of the Ram pickup and Sterling Bullet commercial trucks not covered by the previous recall containing airbags that were deemed defective by Takata last week.
FCA also said it would recall an additional 437,947 Ram pickups from the 2003 model year for passenger-side airbags made by Takata. The latest recalls bring the total number of affected FCA vehicles to 5.22 million worldwide, the automaker said.
The company said it is unaware of any injuries or accidents involving the additional vehicles.
“FCA US vehicles are no longer produced with either suspect inflator. These components also are distinct from Takata inflators cited in fatalities involving other auto makers,” the automaker said in a statement.
FCA’s 4.07 million-vehicle driver-side campaign includes vehicles covered by its 2014 recall for Takata driver-side airbags, including those that received replacement inflators under that campaign, according to company filings with NHTSA.
Separately, American Honda said it would add about 350,000 Civics from the 2005 model year and 2006-07 Accords to its recalls for passenger-side Takata airbags.
Even though Honda has been most exposed to Takata’s defect, most of the airbag inflators covered by Takata’s defect reports to NHTSA last week have already been included in previous Honda recalls and “safety improvement campaigns,” the automaker said in a statement.
“The vast majority of Honda and Acura vehicles impacted by last week’s announcement were already covered by past recalls or safety improvement campaigns,” Bruce Smith, American Honda senior vice president of parts, service, technical, export and auto operations, said in a blog post on Honda’s media website. “In fact, many of these vehicles have already been repaired — we’ve replaced nearly two-million inflators since 2013, most of those in the last nine months alone.”
Unlike FCA, which is seeking to replace airbags used in previous Takata recall repairs, Honda said any replacements made since last September don’t need to be replaced again. Honda has been using the latest-generation Takata inflator in recall repairs, which was not affected by the supplier’s defect reports last week, Honda spokesman Chris Martin said.
Honda said it could recall additional models for Takata airbags in the future if it decides to expand its passenger-side airbag recalls beyond the 13 U.S. states and territories where the current campaigns for passenger-side airbags are being conducted.
“If Takata or the NHTSA later determine that a defect exists in vehicles sold or registered beyond these areas, Honda will expand this action further as required to help ensure the safety of its customers,” Martin said in a statement, noting that a nationwide expansion would affect about 1.02 million vehicles.
BMW of North America is recalling 20 models from 2002-06 model years that contain Takata driver-side front airbag inflators. Regulators said the airbag module will be replaced.
After last week’s agreement between Takata and U.S. regulators, NHTSA said BMW examined its production and manufacturing records to determine the scope of affected vehicles and converted an existing national improvement campaign into a voluntary recall, increasing the number of affected vehicles to 420,661 from 140,696.
Reuters contributed to this report
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