Yes, you read that headline right. Somehow, over a decade after the Takata debacle began, Ford is still recalling vehicles over airbags created by the disgraced Japanese manufacturer. For those who haven’t been paying attention to car news for the last ten years, Takata was a Japanese company that manufactured airbags that were used in millions of vehicles worldwide, including Ford vehicles.
It was discovered that the construction of those airbags was, in fact, dangerous to passengers and drivers alike. In some situations, the airbags could explode outward in a way that caused shrapnel to fly into the cab of the vehicle, often with deadly results for those inside. However, it took years for regulators to realize this, as the airbags would, of course, only deploy in serious accidents.
As such, it often appeared as though the passengers killed by these faulty airbags were, instead, killed by the impact of the other vehicle sending shrapnel into the car. It took years before anyone noticed that people were dying at higher rates from slower crashes in vehicles that had some Takata airbags.
Ford’s newest recall is the latest of countless recalls relating to airbags manufactured by Takata. The recall wasn’t issued voluntarily by Ford: in 2017, they asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Association to not enforce a request to issue a recall. Unfortunately for the American automaker, the NHTSA was not in a charitable mood with the potentially deadly airbags, and ordered them to go ahead with the recall.
This recall is now the biggest in American history, affecting some 67 million vehicles. By ordering Ford to comply with the recall, the company will have to pay out some $610 million, a sum that has led to Ford’s stock prices dropping in response.
Previously, the many of the vehicles covered under the recent recall were recalled for the inflators in their passenger side airbags. However, the NHTSA’s newest requirements has Ford recalling them over the inflators in the driver’s side airbag.
“We believe our extensive data demonstrated that a safety recall was not warranted for the driver-side airbag. However, we respect NHTSA’s decision and will issue a recall,” the company said in a prepared statement.
According to research data, the Takata inflators have led to some 400 injuries, as well as 27 deaths. The NHTSA has previously denied a request from GM to avoid having to recall some 9 million vehicles over the same Takata airbags.