Takata’s airbag recall could be on the verge of getting much worse than it already is with US safety regulators deciding if a further 70-90 million vehicles should be recalled locally.
Already, about 29 million inflators in the United States have been recalled, totaling over 20 million vehicles, of all makes. The airbags in these cars contain a dangerous chemical called ammonium nitrate that can cause the inflators to explode with excessive force and spray metal shards at occupants.
Company documents reveal that a further 120 million Takata inflators in the United States also use this dangerous chemical.
Two former managers at Takata have told Reuters that the company’s North American inflator plants had huge quality failures that are making it difficult to determine which inflators could be defective and potentially dangerous.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has confirmed that it is investigating all vehicles fitted with Takata airbags that use ammonium nitrate but as of yet, hasn’t found enough evidence to warrant additional recalls.
If tens of millions of more airbags have to be recalled by Takata, it will cost the company billions of dollars and stretch out the replacement process by years.