Airbag Recall May be Coming for Tens of Millions of Vehicles

Tens of millions of additional vehicles may soon be recalled due to faulty airbag inflators that can explode during a crash and injure or even kill occupants.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has determined that approximately 41 million inflators made by Tennessee-based supplier ARC Automotive between 2000-2018 are defective and should be recalled. Another 11 million from Delphi, under a licensing agreement with ARC Automotive, happen to be in the same situation.  

A public hearing will be held on October 5 allowing the two companies and other parties to present evidence that would prove there is no defect. The NHTSA will later decide if a recall is indeed necessary or not.

Vehicles possibly affected this time around come from General Motors, Ford, Stellantis, Hyundai, Tesla and Toyota. Earlier this year, GM recalled more than one million units in North America, over 42,000 of which were in Canada—all of them midsize SUVs covering the 2014-2017 model years including the Buick EnclaveChevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia.

ARC Automotive has been under investigation by the NHTSA since 2015. The company has previously disagreed with the agency's tentative conclusion that its airbag inflators are defective. It claims the exploding inflators were the result of "one-off manufacturing anomalies" that were later addressed by automakers in various recalls.

BMW, Ford, Volkswagen and others have also recalled a number of their vehicles equipped with ARC inflators. To this day, at least nine incidents globally (seven in the U.S.) have been reported. Two people have died, but more could follow if vehicle owners don’t have their faulty airbags replaced.

This is starting to sound a lot like what happened with out-of-business Japanese supplier Takata, which is responsible for the biggest auto-related safety recall ever with over 100 million inflators recalled around the globe. About two dozen motorists have been killed by exploding Takata inflators.

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