On March 2, 2018, in an announcement affecting approximately 42 million vehicles in the U.S., it was made known that over two dozen brands of auto may have an air bag that, if deployed, will shoot shrapnel into unsuspecting drivers.
Recently, Takata Corporation, a Japanese manufacturer of airbags, had an additional 3.3 million airbags supplied to auto manufacturers recalled in the United States. The recalled airbags were supplied in over 43 million U.S. vehicles. Currently, approximately 20 deaths and 180 injuries have been linked to the faulty airbags.
Overwhelmed by airbag recalls and lawsuits, Japanese based company, Takata Corporation filed for bankruptcy protection in both Japan and the United States on Monday, June 26, 2017. The airbags manufactured by Takata Corp. used inflators powered by ammonium nitrate that caused the airbag to explode upon deployment, sending pieces of metal shrapnel into drivers. These faulty airbags were responsible for the deaths of 16 people. In addition to the fatalities, Takata is responsible for at least 180 injuries and is having to deal with the largest automotive recall in the history of the United States. So far 100 million airbags equipped with the faulty inflators have been recalled worldwide, including 69 million in the U.S., affecting 42 million vehicles.
Earlier this month, Florida Toyota car dealer, Earl Stewart, sued one of its competitors, Arrigo Enterprises, for selling cars containing Takata airbags. The lawsuit alleges Arrigo is not telling its customers about the recall and even misrepresenting the recall status.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a formal engineering analysis investigation into airbags made by ARC Automotive after the company's airbags were linked to the death of a Canadian driver last month. The fatality in Canada was due to the driver's Hyundai Elantra's airbag inflator exploding as a result of a low impact collision. This death was the first known fatality in recent years from a rupture in an airbag manufactured by a supplier other than Takata. Previous non-fatal incidents involving ARC airbags in 2009 and 2014 sparked preliminary investigations into whether the airbags should be the subject of a product recall.
Some Fiat Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Volkswagen vehicles from the 2016 and 2017 model years being sold are equipped with Takata airbag inflators, despite the devices being potentially defective and likely to be recalled within a few years, according to a Senate report. Takata has already agreed to recall about 69 million airbag inflators in the U.S. by the end of 2019, but these automakers can legally sell their newer model vehicles as they are not yet covered by the recall.
Earlier this month, Takata Corp., the Japanese airbag manufacturer, announced that it would expand recalls for defective airbag inflators to 40 million.
Toyota, already troubled with the 24 million Takata car airbag recall, is now issuing a recall in nearly 3 million sports utility vehicles over another safety issue. Toyota crash studies have shown that in serious accidents the seat belts of the second row seat could come in contact with the seat's metal frame and be severed, resulting in a failure to restrain any passengers against momentum.
Honda Motor Company indicated it will no longer use airbags made by its long time Japanese supplier, Takata. The automobile company stated, "Honda expects its suppliers to act with integrity at all times and we are deeply troubled by this apparent behavior by one of our suppliers." Honda also alleges that Takata misrepresented and manipulated test data to conceal defective airbag inflators. New Honda automobile models currently under development will not use any of the Japanese auto supplier's airbags or any other of its products in the future.