NHTSA reduces estimates of defective Takata airbags

NHTSA reduces estimates of defective Takata airbags

NHTSA has revised down its estimate of the total number of defective Takata airbags installed in vehicles sold in the United States.

The new total–23.4 million defective examples–is 36% lower than previously estimated. Regulators previously estimated that 34 million units were installed in roughly 30 million cars and trucks sold here in the States. The new estimate reduces the potential number of effected vehicles to 19.2 million (some vehicles were equipped with more than one potentially vulnerable airbag).

Defective Takata airbag inflators may be disproportionately dangerous for certain models, with failure rates exceeding two percent in some cases. The highest failure rate of 2.16 percent was associated with inflators used in the 2004-2007 Honda Accord and the 2003-2007 Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe. The numbers equate to likely inflator rupture in more than one in 50 vehicles.

NHTSA is planning to hold a public hearing to discuss plans regarding the future of the recall campaign, according to Automotive News.

Takata has identified manufacturing deficiencies as likely responsible for defects in approximately 10 million of the suspect components. Investigators are still working to determine a root cause for the rest of the problems. Heat and high humidity have been linked to failures, but the supplier claims the inflator designs are not inherently unsafe.

Defective inflators have been blamed for at least eight deaths. More than 20 million vehicles worldwide have been added to the recall roster, and more may yet be announced.

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