Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata has announced that it would double
the size of its initial airbag recall, expanding nationally to include
34 million vehicles. The reversal comes after more than ten years of denying
any defects, and makes the scandal the largest vehicle recall in history.
The move is the latest in the ongoing recall debacle that
we have been following for many months.
As an unnamed industry source reported to the
New York Times, "There’s no use or gain in fighting the regulators...one Takata
management leader explained to me as to why Takata has undergone this
shift” explaining that Takata, "via its lawyers, began contacting
the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA) in mid-April."
Takata's defective airbags have been linked to at least 6 deaths and
hundreds of injuries around the world. The propellant used in the airbags
is believed to react negatively with humidity, causing them to deploy
unexpectedly. "The airbags can
explode violently when they deploy, sending shrapnel flying into a car's passenger compartment."
In recent statement, Takata stated that "older vehicles and those
in areas with high humidity will get the highest priority" in the
In conjunction with the company's announcement, auto safety officials
in Washington described the recall as "the most complex consumer
safety recall in US history," warning that replacements could take
years to complete.
With approximately one in seven US vehicles affected, regulators do not
know exactly which makes and models of cars have been impacted. As noted by the
New York Times, "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said compiling
a definitive list of which vehicles fall under the sweeping new recall
would take several days. That is because Takata's revelation requires
10 automakers to match their own records with Takata's so the list
can be drawn up and made public."
So far it is clear that the defective airbags exist in vehicles manufactured
by BMW, Chrysler, Daimler Trucks, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda,
Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota. Consumers are advised to visit
NHTSA’s site to look up their vehicles on a list of affected cars, even if they haven't
yet received a recall notice in the mail.
A small but growing list of specific makes of cars has become available,
with Honda announcing that "models including the Civic, Accord and CR-V dating to 2001" are included in the recall.Regulators warn that "that even
when consumers learned they needed the fix, it could be months or even
years before they could get one." This is despite regulators insisting
that targeted cars be given a replacement as soon as possible. Honda,
the most heavily impacted car maker thus far, has begun reaching out to
other manufacturers in an attempt to speed up the replacement process.
US legislators are working to speed of the investigation and recall as well, scheduling
hearings on the recall, and vowing to provide consumers with answers.
Consumers who are concerned about their vehicles are advised to contact
their local dealership, follow announcements by their manufacturers, and
regularly check for updated information on the
recall site created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is important to also note that the defects in Takata's airbags
go as far as 2001, and that almost all major car brands on US roadways
If you have been confused or concerned about this airbag issue, and you
suspect that a defective auto part might have played a role in a recent
accident or injury, please get in touch with the
Washington D.C. auto accident lawyers here at Regan, Zambri & Long to set up a thorough and confidential
consultation about your case.