AUGUST 5, 2016 AT 9:00 PM BY CLIFFORD ATIYEH AND RUSTY BLACKWELL
The automotive world and beyond is buzzing about the massive airbag recall covering many millions of vehicles in the U.S. from nearly two dozen brands. Here’s what you need to know about the problem; which vehicles may have the defective, shrapnel-shooting inflator parts from Japanese supplier Takata; and what to do if your vehicle is one of them.
The issue involves defective inflator and propellent devices that may deploy improperly in the event of a crash, shooting metal fragments into vehicle occupants. Approximately 34 million vehicles are potentially affected in the United States, and another 7 million have been recalled worldwide.
Initially, only six makes were involved when Takata announced the fault in April 2013, but a Toyota recall in June this year—along with new admissions from Takata that it had little clue as to which cars used its defective inflators, or even what the root cause was—prompted more automakers to issue identical recalls. In July, NHTSA forced additional regional recalls in high-humidity areas including Florida, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to gather removed parts and send them to Takata for review.
Another major recall issued on October 20 expanded the affected vehicles across several brands. For its part, Toyota said it would begin to replace defective passenger-side inflators starting October 25; if parts are unavailable, however, it has advised its dealers to disable the airbags and affix “Do Not Sit Here” messages to the dashboard.
While Toyota says there have been no related injuries or deaths involving its vehicles, a New York Times report in September found a total of at least 139 reported injuries across all automakers. In particular, there have been at least two deaths and 30 injuries in Honda vehicles. According to the Times, Honda and Takata allegedly have known about the faulty inflators since 2004 but failed to notify NHTSA in previous recall filings (which began in 2008) that the affected airbags had actually ruptured or were linked to injuries and deaths.
Takata first said that propellant chemicals were mishandled and improperly stored during assembly, which supposedly caused the metal airbag inflators to burst open due to excessive pressure inside. In July, the company blamed humid weather and spurred additional recalls.
According to documents reviewed by Reuters, Takata says that rust, bad welds, and even chewing gum dropped into at least one inflator are also at fault. The same documents show that in 2002, Takata’s plant in Mexico allowed a defect rate that was “six to eight times above” acceptable limits, or roughly 60 to 80 defective parts for every 1 million airbag inflators shipped. The company’s study has yet to reach a final conclusion and report the findings to NHTSA.
UPDATE 11/7/2014, 9:44 a.m.: The New York Times has published a report suggesting that Takata knew about the airbag issues in 2004, conducting secret tests off work hours to verify the problem. The results confirmed major issues with the inflators, and engineers quickly began researching a solution. But instead of notifying federal safety regulators and moving forward with fixes, Takata executives ordered its engineers to destroy the data and dispose of the physical evidence. This occurred a full four years before Takata publicly acknowledged the problem.
UPDATE 11/7/2014, 5:29 p.m.: Two U.S. Senators have now called for the Department of Justice to open a criminal investigation on this matter. Takata has stated that “the allegations contained in the [New York Times] article are fundamentally inaccurate.” The company went on to state that it “takes very seriously the accusations made in this article and we are cooperating and participating fully with the government investigation now underway.”
Read more about these developments on this C/D page.
UPDATE 11/13/2014, 11:10 a.m.: Takata has released a more formal statement saying that the allegations made in last week’s New York Times article “are fundamentally inaccurate” and that it “unfairly impugned the integrity of Takata and its employees.” The company says (in this PDF) that there were no tests of “scrapyard airbag inflators” in 2004, that after-hours tests in 2004 “were not ‘secret tests’ . . . [but] were done at the request of NHTSA to address a cushion-tearing issue unrelated to inflator rupturing,” and that it “did not suppress any test results showing cracking or rupturing in the inflators,” whether to automakers such as Honda or to NHTSA.
For its story about Takata‘s statement, the Times spoke again with one of its two sources for the November 6 article. That anonymous person is quoted as saying: “What Takata says is not true . . . They are trying to switch things around.”
On November 12, we reported about a change in Takata’s chemical makeup of its airbag propellant, which the company says is unrelated to the ongoing recall situation.
UPDATE 11/18/2014, 6:10 p.m.: In light of a recent airbag failure in a 2007 Ford Mustang in North Carolina—which was not part of the original “high-humidity areas” Takata recall—the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is calling for a nationwide recall of cars equipped with the defective Takata driver’s-side airbags.
UPDATE 11/20/2014, 5:35 p.m.: Automakers, officials from Takata, and motorists injured by defective airbags met for a hearing with Congress. NHTSA was accused of not responding quickly enough to the Takata airbag situation, and automakers also took heat for being slow with fixes. As of now, the recalls remain regional, but it seems only a matter of time before they’re blanketed nationwide.
UPDATE 11/26/2014, 1:00 p.m.: The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has formally demanded that Takata push through a nationwide recall of cars equipped with the suspect driver’s-side airbags. Also, officials in Japan are calling for a recall expansion, after an airbag from an unspecified car not covered by previous recalls ruptured in testing.
UPDATE 12/2/2014, 5:45 p.m.: Toyota and Honda have released similar statements urging for an “industry-wide joint initiative to independently test Takata airbag inflators.” Meanwhile, Takata’s chairman stated today that he’ll create a “quality assurance panel” to scrutinize the company’s production procedures. Takata and NHTSA officials today made statements before the U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade. NHTSA is still pushing for a nationwide expansion of the still-regional airbag recall—but for defective driver’s-side airbags only; the agency says a coast-to-coast recall on passenger-side airbags isn’t necessary. Such a large-scale recall, many say, would squeeze the limited supply of replacement parts in the most at-risk (read: humid) regions of the country.
UPDATE 12/3/2014, 6:50 p.m.: Takata executives, as well as those from NHTSA and several automakers, again sat before Congress, discussing how this nightmare situation went unaddressed for so long, how it can be fixed promptly and properly, and how it will be prevented from happening again. Honda is expanding its recall nationwide, and Takata’s internal testing has revealed high failure rates.
UPDATE 12/4/2014, 10:25 a.m.: Chrysler, Ford, and Toyota have expanded their recalls of vehicles equipped with Takata airbags.
Chrysler’s recall update adds the passenger-side airbags of roughly 149,000 2003 Ram pickups (1500, 2500, and 3500), which were already part of a driver’s-side airbag recall. The recall remains regional, encompassing trucks “sold or ever registered in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands.” Chrysler says it is unaware of any accidents or injuries related to these airbag inflators and that no failures have occurred in laboratory tests. NHTSA has already stated is dissatisfaction with Chrysler’s move: “Chrysler’s latest recall is insufficient, doesn’t meet our demands, and fails to include all inflators covered by Takata’s defect information report.”
Ford’s expanded recall is very similar to Chrysler’s, adding passenger-side airbags to the repair list of about 13,000 vehicles (2004–2005 Rangers and 2005–2006 GTs) already involved in the regional Takata recalls. Ford is even more selective with the targeted locations: it covers vehicles “originally sold, or ever registered, in Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It adds certain zip codes with high absolute humidity conditions in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Guam, Saipan, and American Samoa.”
Toyota has recalled some 190,000 vehicles in China and Japan, many of them similar to the company’s U.S.-market vehicles listed below.
UPDATE 12/5/2014, 3:15 p.m.: Honda has announced the addition of 3 million vehicles to its list of affected cars—and also that its recall is now nationwide. Read more on this development in this story.
UPDATE 12/18/2014, 10:50 a.m.: Ford has expanded the breadth of its recall for Takata driver’s-side airbags, adding nearly 450,000 vehicles—all Mustangs and GTs—to its list. (Rangers are part of a separate action.) Mazda also expanded its recall to be nationwide for 2004–2008 Mazda 6 and RX-8 vehicles, upping its total of affected cars by about 265,000. Also, Chrysler recently added roughly 139,000 vehicles from the 2003–2005 model years to its regional recall, which now includes the previously unaffected areas of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, American Samoa, Guam, and Saipan. (Also, the 2006–2007 Charger is now listed below, compensating for an oversight on NHTSA’s outdated master list.)
UPDATE 12/19/2014, 7:00 p.m.: Giving in to NHTSA’s demands, Chrysler has drastically expanded its now-nationwide recall—by more than 2 million vehicles. A number of 2004–2007 model-year products, included below and specifically called out in this press release, are being called back to have their driver’s-side airbag inflators replaced. The company reports only one related injury. According to The Detroit Free Press, BMW is now the last automaker (of five) holding out from NHTSA’s demand for a nationwide airbag recall on affected vehicles.
UPDATE 12/30/2014, 10:00 a.m.: BMW has added another 140,000 vehicles to its now-nationwide airbag-recall list, meaning that all five primary carmakers involved in this situation have ditched the regional recalls. Also, Takata president Stefan Stocker has stepped down from the presidency of Takata, and top company executives have agreed to take significant pay cuts.
UPDATE 1/20/2015, 4:00 p.m.: Six panelists—including one who oversaw the Cerberus ownership of Chrysler—will join an independent review board in looking into Takata’s manufacturing processes and recommending best practices for what has become one of the largest-ever auto recalls. Former U.S. transportation secretary (1989–1991) Samuel K. Skinner will lead the panel.
UPDATE 2/11/2015, 10:25 a.m.: Takata—finally—is increasing its capacity to produce replacement airbag inflators at its plants around the world. By September, according to Automotive News, Takata will be able to make 900,000 replacement units per month. Upgraded assembly lines at a factory in Mexico have already increased that plant’s capacity from 300,000 units per month to 450,000. Meanwhile, reports of people being seriously injured by these defective airbags continue to arise.
UPDATE 2/20/2015, 4:10 p.m.: Takata faces civil fines of $14,000 per day for its alleged refusal to cooperate with a federal investigation over these defective airbags. The supplier has provided plenty of paperwork to NHTSA, but the agency found the “deluge of documents” unsatisfactory.
UPDATE 3/12/2015, 12:10 p.m.: Honda has announced that it is instituting a voluntary advertising campaign urging owners of Honda and Acura automobiles to check for open airbag and safety recalls that may affect their vehicle. See one of the ads and read more in our story.
UPDATE 3/19/2015, 2:25 p.m.: Honda has added about 105,000 vehicles to its recall list. These include nearly 90,000 Pilots from the 2008 model year as well as some 2004 Civics and 2001 Accords that previously weren’t part of the recall. Our list below has been updated.
UPDATE 3/23/2015, 1:40 p.m.: According to a new survey, a surprising and unnerving number of Americans evidently haven’t bothered to get these potentially lethal airbags repaired. Just 12 percent of all cars recalled for faulty Takata airbags in the U.S. have been repaired. In Japan, conversely, a full 70 percent of the 3 million cars under recall have been repaired.
UPDATE 4/14/2015, 2:30 p.m.: Honda has stated that the driver of a 2003 Civic was injured by a ruptured airbag during a crash in Florida on March 20.
UPDATE 4/21/2015, 10:15 a.m.: Nissan has added another 45,000 Sentras from the 2006 model year to its large-scale recall for defective Takata airbags. Owners will be notified via FedEx. Affected cars, according to Nissan, are those “that currently are or previously were registered in Florida and adjacent counties in southern Georgia; Hawaii; Guam; Puerto Rico; Saipan; American Samoa; U.S. Virgin Islands; and coastal areas of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.” This action was partially prompted by the investigation of a March crash in Louisiana in which a woman was injured by airbag shrapnel from her 2006 Sentra.
UPDATE 5/13/2015, 3:15 p.m.: Toyota and Nissan announced new and expanded recall activity to replace potentially deadly Takata airbags in nearly 6.5 million vehicles worldwide. The recall affects nearly 1 million vehicles in North America. The Toyota RAV4 (model years 2004 and 2005), previously unaffected by these recalls, is now on the list; Toyota is recalling some 160,000 of the models to replace their driver’s-side airbags. The RAV4 has been added to our comprehensive list below.
UPDATE 5/19/2015, 6:15 p.m.: Takata has declared as defective nearly 34 million vehicles, which will lead to even more extensive recalls of vehicles with the company’s airbags (individual automakers will elaborate on the specific cars added to the recalls in the very near future). In its testing of the suspect parts, Takata also found that driver’s-side airbags in 2003–2007 Toyota Corolla and Matrix models (plus the Pontiac Vibe, a twin to the Matrix), as well as 2004–2007 Honda Accord models,are at the highest risk.
In a news conference today, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx called the expanded recall “the most complex consumer-safety recall in U.S. history.” He added: “Up until now Takata has refused to acknowledge that their airbags are defective. That changes today.” Also, the company has agreed to pay the U.S. government significant fines for not cooperating in the investigations of numerous injuries and deaths; the exact amount will be announced at a later date.
UPDATE 5/20/2015, 1:00 p.m.: Unnamed sources have told Bloomberg that Takata changed its airbag propellant in 2008 to reduce the risk of overly forceful deployment and to address the moisture-related degradation of the propellant.
UPDATE 5/27/2015, 10:00 a.m.: Next Tuesday, June 2, a panel from the U.S. House of Representatives will hold a hearing to follow up on the status of this ongoing situation. “We have endured a year of Takata ruptures and recalls, and families are still at risk. No excuses. Michiganders, and all Americans, have a right to answers,” committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said in a statement. The most recent Congressional hearing took place in December.
UPDATE 5/28/2015, 10:00 a.m.: Honda has added 259,479 vehicles to its Japanese-market recall tally, according to Automotive News. Affected model years are from 2002 through 2008, which marks the first time that 2008 Hondas have been included in this huge airbag recall. Honda soon will announce additional airbag recalls for the United States, which will be part of the massive recall expansion announced last week.
UPDATE 5/28/2015, 1:25 p.m.: Chrysler and Honda have added hundreds of thousands of vehicles to their U.S.-market recall lists; this follows Takata’s announcement last week that 34 million total vehicles were subject to action. At this point, Honda is saying only that it will add roughly 350,000 vehicles to its list, although “most of the vehicles deemed at risk in Takata’s defect-determination report were already subject to previous voluntary actions taken by Honda.”
The Chrysler expansion details approximately 1.2 million of its vehicles that were part of last week’s announcement, many of which are from model years that previously hadn’t been flagged. Accordingly, the following have been added to our list below: 2009–2010 Chrysler 300, 2008–2010 Dodge Charger, 2009–2011 Dodge Dakota, 2005–2010 Dodge Magnum (no Magnums were previously recalled for this problem), 2009 Ram 2500 and 3500, 2009–2010 Ram 4500 and 5500, and 2008–2010 Mitsubishi Raider.
UPDATE 5/28/2015, 5:00 p.m.: Ford has added more than 900,000 vehicles to its list of recalls for potentially defective airbags from Takata. The 2009–2014 Mustang and the 2006 Ranger are new additions to the list. The later-model Mustangs—recalled for driver’s-side airbags—are by far the newest cars to be included in this incredibly broad recall action.
UPDATE 5/29/2015, 6:25 p.m.: General Motors now has vehicles on the ever-growing list below (besides the Toyota-built Pontiac Vibe): it is recalling heavy-duty examples of 2007 and 2008 Chevy Silverados and GMC Sierras. Also, Subaru has quadrupledthe number of its vehicles subject to this airbag recall; that company’s additions are all 2004–2005 Imprezas.
UPDATE 6/2/2015, 10:30 a.m.: A Congressional hearing on this matter is scheduled for today at 2 p.m. We’ll cover the event throughout the afternoon. Meanwhile, yesterday a Takata executive announced that the company proposes “to replace all” of the troublesome “ ‘batwing-shaped’ propellant wafers” installed in North America. We should know a lot more later today.
UPDATE 6/2/2015, 3:35 p.m.: Highlights so far from today’s Congressional hearing come mostly from NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind. He encourages consumers to frequently visit safercar.gov to see whether their vehicle and its VIN have been added to the list; he promises that the website will have VIN information for every single individual car affected by these expansive recalls within two weeks. Rosekind is calling for carmakers to be more diligent in tracking down vehicles that have passed through multiple owners over the years so that the current owner gets recall notices as quickly as possible. If NHTSA had the authority, Rosekind says, it would have forced off the road vehicles affected by the Takata recalls sometime in 2014. Rosekind also points out that the suspect Takata airbag inflator has 10 different configurations, which complicates discernment of the root cause.
Also, Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has pointed out that, “The messaging around these airbag recalls has been tortured at best,” andnotes that Takata is trying “to perfect an innumerable set of manufacturing variables, which for 10-plus years have resisted perfection.”
UPDATE 6/2/2015, 4:55 p.m.: Sitting before the Congressional committee, Takata executive VP Kevin Kennedy states that he believes ammonium nitrate—a propellant that he admits is “a factor” in these rupturing airbags—is safe to use in his company’s products, including airbags installed as replacements in these recalls. He admits, though, that all of the defective airbags discovered in testing have used this type of propellant; Takata is, Kennedy says, transitioning to using guanidine nitrate, a propellant that other airbag suppliers already use. He reassures consumers that not all of the millions of recalled airbag inflators are defective and also that his company is testing components “outside the scope of the recall” to make sure that the callbacks are far-reaching enough. He also claims that his company shipped 740,000 replacement kits in May, in addition to supplying loads of airbags for new-car production.
UPDATE 6/2/2015, 7:05 p.m.: Now posted: our full story on today’s developmentsand how Takata plans to handle this situation moving forward.
UPDATE 6/4/2015, 3:00 p.m.: Takata has informed Reuters that at least 10 percent of the 4 million replacement airbag inflators installed as part of these recalls will have to be replaced again. The number could be much greater, as Reuters notes, “the safety of more than 3 million replacement parts [is also] in question.” A NHTSA official said the agency will push Takata and individual carmakers to “demonstrate to us that the remedy parts are safe for the life of the vehicle.”
UPDATE 6/5/2015, 10:10 a.m.: Mazda has added more than 100,000 vehicles to its list of recalls, bringing the total to roughly 450,000. New to the list are the 2003 Mazda 6 and the 2006 B-series pickup; additional Mazdas from previously noted model years in the rundown below, including the RX-8 and the Mazdaspeed 6, are part of this expanded recall. The cars are being recalled for driver’s-side airbag inflators, while the pickups are called back for their passenger-side airbags.
Also, former Takata president Stefan Stocker, who resigned that position in December, has now left his spot on the company’s board of directors. Takata’s senior vice president of global quality assurance, Hiroshi Shimizu, has been named to the board, along with two other new appointments. Last December, speaking before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Shimizu “rebuffed NHTSA’s claims that several million driver’s-side airbags now demonstrate a national safety risk.”
UPDATE 6/10/2015, 10:00 a.m.: A lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court in Lafayette, Louisiana, alleges that a 22-year-old woman was killed in early April when her 2005 Honda Civic’s driver’s-side airbag “violently exploded and sent metal shards, shrapnel and/or other foreign material into the passenger compartment,”Automotive News reports. Her car hit a telephone pole on April 5, two days before she received a recall notice for her car’s Takata-supplied airbags. She died on April 9. Her death, if it was indeed caused by the airbag, would become the seventh attributed to a failed Takata airbag. The other six fatalities have all occurred in Honda vehicles, and only one crash happened outside of the United States.
UPDATE 6/11/2015, 10:25 a.m.: There are many millions of vehicles involved in these recalls, but it seems as though 34 million, a figure that Takata announced in mid-May, might be far too high. (That figure was for inflators, not vehicles, although few cars seem to be afflicted with multiple defective airbags.) Reuters reports that the number is probably more like 16.2 million vehicles. Keep in mind, though, that Nissan and Toyota may not have yet announced their recall expansions in response to Takata’s aforementioned mid-May announcement. The figures in our chart below, as it appears today, add up to 15.97 million vehicles, which is within two percent of Reuters’ figure.
UPDATE 6/12/2015, 11:35 a.m.: Honda has announced that its financial results for the fiscal year that ended on March 31 will take a $363 million hit because of costs associated with repairing vehicles involved in the Takata recalls.
UPDATE 6/14/2015, 7:00 p.m.: Honda has confirmed that the death of Kylan Langlinais, whose 2005 Civic crashed in Louisiana on April 5 and which we detailed above on June 10, was indeed a result of the ruptured Takata-supplied airbag in her car. Automotive News reports that this is the second of seven deaths—all in Honda vehicles—where “a driver received a [recall or safety-campaign] notification too late.” Honda has recalled roughly 5.5 million vehicles with Takata airbag inflators in the United States.
UPDATE 6/15/2015, 10:45 p.m.: Honda has added nearly 1.4 million airbag inflators to this ever-expanding recall. The new recall is for passenger-side airbags on 2003–2007 Accord and 2001–2005 Civic models—two vehicles with the highest defect rates uncovered in Takata tests. According to Automotive News, most of these particular vehicles have already been recalled for their driver’s-side airbags.
UPDATE 6/16/2015, 12:10 p.m.: Daimler has recalled 40,061 Sprinter vans for their passenger-side airbags. Dodge-branded Sprinters from 2006–2008 are included, as are Freightliner-badged Sprinters from 2007–2008. Vans in both 2500 and 3500 capacities are being recalled.
UPDATE 6/16/2015, 3:15 p.m.: Toyota has announced that 1,365,000 more vehicles are subject to its airbag recalls. All of these particular vehicles are being called in for their passenger-side airbags. Specific models involved are: 2003–2007 Corolla and Corolla Matrix, 2005–2007 Sequoia, 2005–2006 Tundra, and 2003–2007 Lexus SC430. Takata recalls now cover some 2.9 million vehicles in the United States. A report inAutomotive News notes that 24 incidents of “incorrect deployments” of Takata airbags have been recorded worldwide in Toyota vehicles, with at least eight reports of injuries and no deaths.
UPDATE 6/18/2015, 11:15 a.m.: NHTSA finally knows the full scope of this massive, ongoing airbag recall. The 11 carmakers involved have identified every vehicle identification number (VIN) covered by the recall. Check your VIN by using the government agency’s search tool. Also of note: The Senate Commerce Committee will meet next week to hear testimony from NHTSA experts, the Transportation Department’s Office of the Inspector General, and representatives from Takata and automakers regarding the recall.
UPDATE 6/19/2015, 4:50 p.m.: General Motors has added some 243,000 Pontiac Vibes to its tally of the already-recalled hatchback, which was built alongside the Toyota Matrix in the mid-2000s. The Vibes in this action, from the 2003–2007 model years, are being recalled for their passenger-side airbags. The 2006 and 2007 model years previously had not been affected.
UPDATE 6/20/2015, 12:15 a.m.: Honda has confirmed that an eighth person’s death was caused by a defective airbag in one of its products. The woman who died was involved in a crash last August in Los Angeles; she was driving a rented 2001 Civic.Bloomberg reports that this particular vehicle was part of four airbag-recall campaigns between 2009 and 2014, each of which resulted in notifications being mailed to the car’s registered owner, who never had the recalls addressed.
UPDATE 6/23/2015, 11:30 a.m.: Another hearing on this matter is happening in Congress today. Early points of note include:
• NHTSA’s Mark Rosekind estimates that the 34 million defective airbag inflators are installed in 32 million vehicles, so only a small percentage of affected cars have more than one defective airbag. Those figures may still not be entirely accurate, however.
• For months, NHTSA has been coming under fire for how it has handled the Takata situation and other recent large-scale automotive recalls. Staffing and funding are an issue for the government agency, but Senator Claire McCaskill said this morning that “I’m not about to give you more money” until major reforms are made.
• Fiat-Chrysler has hired TRW to supply replacements for the defective Takata parts in its recalled vehicles. Takata has been supplying the industry at large with a major portion of the required replacement airbags thus far. FCA senior vice president Scott Kunselman said during the hearing that his company would only use replacement airbags from TRW and is confident that customers will not need to return for subsequent repairs.
UPDATE 6/23/2015, 3:45 p.m.: Takata still does not know the root cause of its airbag failures and stopped short of guaranteeing its replacement parts. The company’s executive vice president in North America, Kevin Kennedy, testified today during the company’s third Congressional hearing that “many of the replacement parts are alternative designs” but that it was continuing to test these replacements as it ramps up production to 1 million parts per month. “What we do know is that it takes a considerably long time for these problems to manifest,” Kennedy said to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
UPDATE 6/25/2015, 10:50 a.m.: Following Takata’s annual shareholders meeting in Tokyo today, company president Shigehisa Takada publicly apologized for the deaths, injuries, and issues that have been caused by the airbags produced by the company that his grandfather founded in 1933. “I apologize for not having been able to communicate directly earlier, and also apologize for people who died or were injured,” Takada said, according to Bloomberg. “I feel sorry our products hurt customers, despite the fact that we are a supplier of safety products.” The apology came on the heels of Toyota and Honda adding another 3 million vehicles to the worldwide list of those recalled.
UPDATE 6/26/2015, 10:30 a.m.: Reuters reports that Takata president Shigehisa Takada took a major pay cut last year, earning less than 100 million yen (about $810,000) compared with the $1.67 million he took home the year before. His wages could have been much less than ¥100 million, since, as Reuters says, “Japanese companies are required to disclose individual executive compensation only if it exceeds 100 million yen.” Other senior executives at Takata also earned less money last year.
Following up on news that we first covered on June 12, Honda has restated its operating profit for last year after taking into account costs associated with repairing vehicles fitted with potentially defective Takata-supplied airbags. The effective cash loss of about $363 million remains as previously stated, bringing Honda’s operating profit for the fiscal year that ended in March to $4.92 billion.
UPDATE 6/30/2015, 10:30 a.m.: According to a recent audit by the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General, NHTSA—the agency that has been at the forefront of the examinations of these Takata airbag recalls—is full of incompetent, mismanaged staff who are practically set up by their superiors to fail. Read our analysis here.
UPDATE 7/8/2015, 9:55 a.m.: The airbag in a Nissan X-Trail started a fire after the Takata-supplied device went off with excessive force during a crash in Japan,according to Automotive News. The passenger-side airbag “exploded, smashing the passenger-side window and sending high-temperature fragments into the dashboard, causing a fire.” The driver sustained minor injuries in the crash.
UPDATE 7/9/2015, 9:35 a.m.: Honda has recalled another 4.5 million vehicles, bringing the total number of its cars and SUVs involved in Takata-airbag-related actions to 24.5 million. None of this newest batch were sold in North America; more than one-third are in Japan. This latest recall expands upon a mid-May recall of 4.8 million non-North-American Honda vehicles.
UPDATE 7/12/2015, 9:45 p.m.: Nearly 90,000 Dodge Challengers from model years 2008 through 2010 have been added to this ever-growing airbag recall. According toAutomotive News and Bloomberg, Chrysler will recall 88,346 of the pony cars for possibly defective driver’s-side airbags. Prior to this action, no Challengers had been recalled for this issue.
UPDATE 8/12/2015, 11:50 a.m.: Takata soon will begin a large-scale regional advertising campaign focused on raising awareness around the installation of replacement airbag inflators in affected vehicles. According to Automotive News andBloomberg, the campaign is “a robust digital advertising campaign” that will include red “Urgent Airbag Recall Notice” banner ads on websites such as CNN and Facebook. Only high-humidity locales will be targeted with the ads: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Also, a direct-mail campaign will target 85 percent of the U.S. market.
UPDATE 8/18/2015, 10:00 a.m.: Volkswagen is now part of NHTSA’s probe on Takata-supplied airbags, following the rupture of a side airbag in a 2015 Tiguan during a crash involving a deer in June, Automotive News reports. No one in the vehicle was hurt. If this problem is related to that which spurred the massive recall for Takata’s front airbags, it would be notable as the first report of the issue affecting side airbags, Volkswagen vehicles, and a model later than the 2011 model year (with the exception of the 2014 Ford Mustang). A Takata spokesman told AN, “We believe [this malfunction] is unrelated to the previous recalls, which the extensive data suggests were a result of aging and long-term exposure to heat and high humidity.”
Automotive News points out that Volkswagen and Tesla are the only carmakers currently using Takata inflators that so far haven’t been subject to the recall actions detailed here.
UPDATE 8/20/2015, 2:45 p.m.: Following news earlier this week about the rupture of a side airbag in a 2015 VW Tiguan, two U.S. senators on the committee investigating these defective airbags are calling for the immediate recall of all vehicles that use Takata-supplied airbags. A statement on Connecticut senator Richard Blumenthal’s website concludes: “In light of the most recent incident, which did not occur in one of the regions originally designated as ‘high humidity,’ and which involved a 2015 vehicle not currently subject to recall, we urge you to voluntarily recall all vehicles containing Takata airbags.”
UPDATE 8/21/2015, 3:45 p.m.: Toyota said it would consider using replacement airbag inflators from other suppliers, including Autoliv, Daicel, and Nippon Kayaku, as Takata faces a production backlog and scrutiny over whether its replacement parts are just as defective. From the beginning, Takata had agreed to let its competitors produce replacement parts alongside its own. Toyota has about 12 million cars affected worldwide.
UPDATE 9/2/2015, 12:15 p.m.: NHTSA has announced that its previous totals for how many U.S.-market vehicles are affected by this Takata airbag recall were vastly overestimated. The most recent figure that the government agency is reporting is 19.2 million vehicles affected, containing 23.4 million defective inflators (since the late 1990s, cars sold in the U.S. have been required to feature at least two airbags). NHTSA had been saying that 34 million defective inflators were in some 30 million cars and trucks here in America.
NHTSA’s updated figure is much closer to the total number of vehicles represented on our list below, which currently stands at 18.6 million.
UPDATE 9/28/2015, 12:30 p.m.: These recalls could soon grow to include additional carmakers. Via letter, NHTSA recently contacted seven automakers that aren’t currently included in the Takata recalls but which have used Takata-supplied airbags containing the suspect ammonium-nitrate propellant. The companies are Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Suzuki, Tesla, Volkswagen, Volvo (trucks), as well as specialty manufacturer Spartan Motors. According to The Detroit News, NHTSA said in the letter that the “remedy programs that are individual to each of the affected vehicle manufacturers have created a patch-work solution that NHTSA believes may not adequately address the safety risks presented by the defective inflators within a reasonable time. . . . This process is intended to produce solutions for the prioritization, organization, and phasing of remedy programs, and to appropriately address the multitude of factors contributing to the complexity of these recall programs.”
UPDATE 10/19/2015, 5:35 p.m.: General Motors is recalling a few hundred 2015-model-year cars and crossover vehicles for potentially faulty Takata-sourced side airbags; these vehicles aren’t yet shown on our comprehensive list below, but they’re called out in the post linked here. Unlike these GM products, all of the vehicles currently noted below are being recalled for front airbags, and nearly all of them are from the 2011 model year or prior. Also, NHTSA is planning to disclose more details—including additional manufacturers subject to the recalls beyond the current eleven—during a hearing on October 22.
UPDATE 10/22/2015, 12:50 p.m.: In a public hearing today, NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind revealed more information about this massive recall situation. Nationwide, only 22.5 percent of recalled vehicles have actually been fixed. It’s only slightly better in the humid Gulf of Mexico region, where recalls have been completed in 29.5 percent of affected vehicles even though airbag inflators in those locales are more likely to explode upon deployment. Some inflators have been replaced with newer, but still at-risk, identical components. Of the 115,000 removed inflators that Takata has tested, 450 have ruptured.
At NHTSA’s request, the 11 affected automakers conducted a risk assessment, which found that six million total inflators in the United States “are in the highest-risk group that should take top priority for replacement parts,” according to Automotive News,while roughly 11 million are in the middle-priority group and two million are least at risk. In general, the older the vehicle and the more humid the environment, the higher the priority that the airbag inflator(s) be replaced.
UPDATE 10/26/2015, 11:30 a.m.: The Volkswagen Group is gathering and testing Takata-supplied airbags, Automotive News reports. The company expressed to NHTSA a concern about the supply of replacement parts, if the Takata recalls are expanded to VW’s brands, which seems likely at this point. VW is currently unaffected by these extensive recalls, but as we noted in August, a 2015 Tiguan experienced a side-airbag rupture. All told, U.S.-market VW Group products are fitted with roughly 2.4 million Takata airbag inflators.
UPDATE 11/2/2015, 4:00 p.m.: Honda is recalling a group of 515 2016 CR-Vs for driver’s-side front airbag inflators that could separate in the event of a crash.
UPDATE 11/3/2015, 6:00 p.m.: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationhas issued Takata a record civil penalty of at least $70 million. The airbag supplier could be responsible for paying NHTSA as much as $200 million total if further violations are discovered. As part of the issuance, NHTSA has orderedthat Takata “phase out the manufacture and sale of inflators that use phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate propellant.”
UPDATE 11/4/2015, 9:45 a.m.: Honda has announced that it will no longer use airbag components from Takata. In a statement, Honda said: “We have become aware of evidence that suggests that Takata misrepresented and manipulated test data for certain airbag inflators.” According to Automotive News, Honda has been Takata’s biggest customer for many years.
UPDATE 11/6/2015, 9:55 a.m.: Following Honda’s lead, both Toyota and Mazda have said they will stop purchasing airbag inflators from Takata, at least those that incorporate ammonium nitrate. According to Automotive News, Mitsubishi and Subaru also are considering dropping the airbag supplier. Nearly 40 percent of Takata’s sales in 2014 came from airbag parts.
UPDATE 11/9/2015, 10:35 a.m.: Nissan has now joined Toyota, Mazda, and Honda in announcing that it will no longer use Takata-supplied airbag inflators. TheAutomotive News report on Nissan’s declaration also notes that Takata lost $70 million in the second quarter of 2015.
UPDATE 11/23/2015, 1:45 p.m.: Ford is the latest carmaker to declare that it will no longer use Takata airbag inflators with ammonium-nitrate propellant in its new cars. Ford is the first non-Japanese company to take this step.
UPDATE 11/25/2015, 11:00 a.m.: Internal employee communications reviewed byThe Wall Street Journal show Takata withheld airbag-inflator failures in reports to Honda in 2000, four years before that automaker began its own initial investigation of a ruptured Takata airbag in a customer car. The documents show Takata’s U.S. employees were voicing concerns over their Japanese colleagues doctoring data as “the way we do business in Japan.” Takata says the “lapses were and are totally incompatible with Takata’s engineering standards and protocols.”
UPDATE 12/4/2015, 11:00 a.m.: Japan’s transport ministry has banned Takata airbag inflators that use ammonium nitrate as the propellant (and without a moisture-absorbing desiccant) from being installed in future cars. According to Automotive News, such airbags “will be phased out from driver’s-side airbags by 2017 and passenger-side devices by 2018.” Vehicle models that are subject to Takata-related recalls have a six-month-shorter time frame for the phase-out. As noted above, NHTSA announced a similar ban for U.S.-market vehicles on November 3.
UPDATE 12/23/2015, 12:15 p.m.: NHTSA announced today that another person has died as a result of a faulty Takata airbag inflator. The fatal July 2015 crash occurred in a 2001 Honda Accord. Although the crash happened in Pennsylvania, the car had spent several years in the humid Gulf region. Also, the agency has been informed of five new ruptures to passenger-side airbags, which is “likely” to result in expanded recalls of the 2002–2004 Honda CR-V, the 2005–2008 Mazda 6, and the 2005–2008 Subaru Legacy. (The Honda and Mazda models and model years are already reflected on the list below.)
UPDATE 1/4/2016, 3:00 p.m.: The New York Times has detailed the contents of some internal Takata emails from more than nine years ago. As far back as 2000, internal reports revealed that there were “several instances [of] ‘pressure vessel failures,’ or airbag ruptures, . . . reported to Honda as normal airbag deployments.” One airbag engineer, according to the in-depth NYT story, wrote in a 2005 report “that he had been ‘repeatedly exposed to the Japanese practice of altering data presented to the customer,’ adding that such conduct was described at Takata as ‘the way we do business in Japan.’ ” In the same report, the engineer “warned that while the fudging of the data had initially not changed the fundamental conclusions of the data, the practice had ‘gone beyond all reasonable bounds and now most likely constitutes fraud.’ ” In 2006, the same engineer wrote “Happy Manipulating!!!” in an email to a colleague about how to graphically deemphasize the “bimodal distribution” of some tests conducted at high temperatures. He also suggested that his co-worker use “thick and thin lines to try and dress it up, or [change] colors to divert attention.”
Takata maintains that “the emails in question are completely unrelated to the current airbag inflater recalls.” A Honda spokesman wouldn’t comment on the emails but said that his employer was “aware of evidence that suggests that Takata misrepresented and manipulated test data.”
Meanwhile, Automotive News reports that some Japanese carmakers “may jointly invest in Takata” in order to soften the financial hit that the airbag supplier is facing as a result of these massive recalls.
UPDATE 1/8/2016, 4:15 p.m.: Mazda will recall 374,000 cars in the United States due to their passenger-side airbags. According to Automotive News, these airbags were found to be “prone to ruptures” in recent tests by Takata. The 2003–2008 Mazda 6, the 2006–2007 Mazdaspeed 6, and the 2004 RX-8 are affected; these models had already been included on our list below, and we’ve increased the total accordingly.
UPDATE 1/22/2016, 3:30 p.m.: A Georgia man died last month in a Takata airbag–related crash while driving a 2006 Ford Ranger. His death marks the first of nine in the United States and ten worldwide that have not occurred in a Honda vehicle. In the wake of this news, U.S. safety regulators are expected to add another 5 million vehicles to the Takata recall list detailed below. Automotive News notes that 1 million of those added vehicles have inflators “similar to those installed on the Ford Ranger,” while the other 4 million are being recalled following results of new tests on Takata airbags. Audi and Mercedes-Benz products will be included on the list below for the first time.
UPDATE 1/26/2016, 9:30 a.m.: Ford has expanded its recall of 2004–2006 Ranger pickups, following news last week of a driver who died as a result of injuries he received from airbag shrapnel. The recall is for driver’s-side airbags in 361,692 Rangers in the United States and another 29,334 in Canada. These trucks had already been recalled for their passenger-side airbags. All 2004–2006 Rangers built in North America are part of this recall.
UPDATE 1/27/2016, 12:45 p.m.: The driver of a 2007 Honda Civic was killed in India last year in a crash that involved at least one Takata-sourced airbag that sent shrapnel flying into the cabin. An American Honda spokesman told the Associated Press that the driver was likely killed by other injuries sustained in the high-speed crash and not those inflicted by the defective airbag(s). The 2007 Civic is not currently part of Honda’s recalls in the U.S., but it might be added to the list soon.
UPDATE 2/3/2016, 10:15 a.m.: Mazda has recalled all 2004–2006 B-series pickups for potentially defective driver’s-side airbags. The B-series is a rebadged Ford Ranger, and this recall expansion mirrors the one we described on January 26 for the Ranger. Some 19,000 Mazda trucks are affected in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Saipan. These B-series models had previously been recalled for their passenger-side airbags. In total, Mazda says it has issued recalls for 442,266 driver’s-side airbag inflators and 416,475 passenger-side inflators. The up-to-date list of Mazdas is below; many have recalls outstanding for multiple airbags.
UPDATE 2/3/2016, 6:00 p.m.: Honda dealerships in the U.S. have received letters from the carmaker stating that a new recall and stop-sale order applies to a long list of used Honda products: 2007–2011 CR-V, 2011–2015 CR-Z, 2009–2013 Fit, 2013–2014 Fit EV, 2010–2014 Insight, and 2007–2014 Ridgeline. According to Automotive News, if dealers don’t abide by the stop-sale order, they could be liable for any injuries that occur as a result of defective Takata airbags in these cars, which number some 1.7 million. The aforementioned vehicles have not yet been added to our list below because the news is not yet official.
UPDATE 2/4/2016, 8:30 a.m.: Honda has officially issued recalls for Takata-supplied “PSDI-5” driver’s-side airbags on 2.23 million vehicles. The Honda-branded vehicles are: 2007–2011 CR-V, 2007–2014 Ridgeline, 2009–2014 Fit, 2010–2014 FCX Clarity, 2010–2014 Insight, 2011–2015 CR-Z. Acura vehicles affected by this recall are: 2005–2012 RL, 2007–2016 RDX (early production MY2016 vehicles only), 2009–2014 TL, 2010–2013 ZDX, 2013–2016 ILX (early production MY2016 vehicles only). These vehicles have been added to our list below. According to Honda, “Due to the large volume of new inflators needed to repair vehicles, the necessary replacement parts will not become available until Summer 2016.”
Older vehicles and those in high-humidity locales will be given priority for the replacement parts. In the meantime, dealers have been issued stop-sale instructions for affected vehicles that haven’t been repaired. These recalls are in addition to the 6.28 million Hondas and Acuras that had already been recalled for their airbags.
UPDATE 2/8/2016, 11:00 a.m.: Seat-mounted side-airbag inflators with the code name “SSI-20” are now under recall. Takata says this recall is limited only to inflators manufactured between December 13 and 14, 2014. A total of 1129 Volkswagen and General Motors vehicles from the 2015 model year are equipped with these inflators. NHTSA began investigating Takata side airbags in August after a side airbag in a 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan ruptured in June.
UPDATE 2/9/2016, 2:10 p.m.: Daimler is recalling some 705,000 Mercedes-Benz cars and 136,000 Daimler vans in the U.S. market because NHTSA has indicated that the vehicles could contain defective Takata-supplied airbags. The Mercedes-Benzes are all from the 2005–2014 model years: SLK, C-class, E-class, M-class, GL-class, R-class, and SLS. The newly recalled vans are 2007–2014 Sprinters with Dodge, Freightliner, or Mercedes badges. (Some 2006–2008 Sprinters had been added to the recall in June 2015.)
UPDATE 2/10/2016, 11:30 a.m.: Audi, BMW, and Volkswagen are recalling some 1.7 million U.S.-market vehicles for potentially defective Takata-sourced driver’s-side airbags.
The Audi recall covers 170,000 vehicles from model years 2006 through 2013. The Audis involved are: 2006–2013 A3, 2006–2009 A4 cabriolet, 2009–2012 Q5, and 2010–2011 A5 cabriolet.
BMW is recalling 840,000 vehicles from 2006 through 2015; these vehicles weren’t among the roughly 765,000 that BMW had previously recalled for Takata airbags. The BMWs involved are: 2006–2011 3-series sedan and M3, 2006–2012 3-series wagon, 2007–2013 3-series and M3 coupe and convertible, 2007–2010 X3, 2007–2013 X5, 2008–2013 1-series coupe and convertible, 2008–2014 X6, and 2013–2015 X1.
The Volkswagen-branded vehicles, numbering 680,000, are from 2006 through 2014. The VWs involved are: 2009–2014 CC, 2010–2014 Jetta SportWagen and Golf, 2012–2014 Eos and U.S.-built Passat sedan, and 2006–2010 German-built Passat sedan and wagon.
UPDATE 2/13/2016, 11:30 a.m.: NHTSA has updated its website with more specifics regarding what Mercedes-Benz models are affected by this recall. They are detailed in an update to this story that we published earlier this week. The general models are as follows, and they’ve been updated on our list below: 2005–2011 C-class (excluding C55 AMG but including 2009–2011 C63 AMG); 2010–2011 E-class sedan, wagon, coupe, and convertible; 2009–2012 GL-class; 2010–2012 GLK-class; 2009–2011 M-class; 2009–2012 R-class; 2007–2008 SLK-class; 2011–2014 SLS AMG coupe and roadster; 2007–2014 Sprinter.
Also new to the list below is the 2006–2007 Chrysler Crossfire, which was based on a Mercedes-Benz. A total of 5283 Crossfires have been recalled.
UPDATE 2/16/2016, 11:00 a.m.: General Motors has added roughly 200,000 Saab and Saturn products in the U.S. and Canada to its list of vehicles covered by this recall. The cars involved are: 2003–2011 Saab 9-3, 2010–2011 Saab 9-5, and 2008–2009 Saturn Astra. These vehicles—numbering 179,861 in the U.S.—have been added to our list below.
UPDATE 2/17/2016, 6:15 p.m.: According to a report in the New York Times, Takata executives allegedly withheld test results from its defective airbag inflators and destroyed evidence as early as 2000. A top Takata executive is alleged to have ordered that failed parts be “discarded” and doctored a report.
UPDATE 2/22/2016, 7:30 a.m.: Reuters is reporting that the number of Takata airbag inflators recalled in the United States could nearly quadruple, with the addition of between 70 and 90 million units. That could bring the total of recalled Takata airbag inflators containing ammonium nitrate to as high as 120 million. (Some cars have more than one recalled airbag, so the overall vehicle total would be lower.) Reuters says that “Takata produced between 260 million and 285 million ammonium nitrate-based inflators worldwide between 2000 and 2015, of which nearly half wound up in U.S. vehicles.” The news service also notes that, “Takata produced most of the inflators that regulators are now investigating at its main inflator plant in Monclova, Mexico, or at plants in Georgia and Washington state, according to company documents.”
UPDATE 2/23/2016, 2:15 p.m.: A group of 10 carmakers known as the Independent Testing Coalition hired a company called Orbital ATK (which works with rocket propulsion-systems) to conduct its own tests of suspect Takata airbag inflators. The conclusions, according to Automotive News, are that “it was the combination of these three factors—the use of ammonium nitrate, the construction of Takata’s inflator assembly, and the exposure to heat and humidity—that made the inflators vulnerable to rupture.” These results are consistent with Takata’s internal testing as well as testing by the Fraunhofer Group.
UPDATE 3/2/2016, 3:30 p.m.: Toyota has recalled another 198,000 vehicles in the U.S. for suspect Takata-supplied, passenger-side airbags. The 2008 Corolla and Corolla Matrix, as well as the 2008–2010 Lexus SC430, are now included in this action. (Earlier model years of these vehicles were already included in this recall.)
UPDATE 3/30/2016, 3:15 p.m.: According to court documents reviewed by Reuters, Honda requested that Takata redesign its faulty airbag inflators to be “fail-safe” back in 2009. That was after the company first recalled a small population of cars in 2008 after defective Takata airbag inflators in Honda models were linked to four injuries and one death. The revised inflators, which Honda began installing in 2011, have four additional holes to vent gas so that if the inflators rupture, the metal enclosure is less likely to break apart and become shrapnel. Honda did not notify NHTSA of the design change and denied that it ever had to do so, stating that it used revised parts to prevent “future manufacturing errors.”
Takata is facing a bevy of lawsuits, some of which are being consolidated in a federal court in Miami. Much worse, however, are the recalls themselves. According toBloomberg, a Takata insider has estimated the cost of recalling every single airbag inflator with ammonium nitrate—a number in excess of 280 million—to be $24 billion.
UPDATE 4/1/2016, 5:00 p.m.: According to NHTSA, 7.5 million defective airbag inflators have been replaced as of March 11. That’s 33 percent out of 22.5 million. But that doesn’t include another 5 million inflators recalled in February. Using those numbers, Reuters pegs the repair rate at about 25 percent, using a baseline of 29 million defective inflators. Check out NHTSA’s Takata website to see the recall-completion rates by manufacturer. Honda has the highest completion rate, at 54 percent, but several carmakers have rates of less than 20 percent. Expect NHTSA to update its numbers soon.
UPDATE 4/7/2016, 3:15 p.m.: Honda has reported a death from an airbag rupture in a 2002 Civic under recall. According to KTRK-TV in Houston, 17-year-old Huma Hanif rear-ended another car on March 31 in Richmond, Texas. Although her airbag deployed, investigators determined the crash wasn’t severe enough to kill the teenager. Her throat was lacerated by the airbag inflator and a witness described her collapsing after exiting her car. Hanif is the 11th Takata-related death worldwide, the 10th in the U.S., and the 10th in a Honda.
UPDATE 4/14/2016, 11:00 a.m.: NHTSA has stated that there are 85 million Takata airbag inflators in the United States that haven’t been recalled at this point. Of that 85 million, 43.4 million are passenger-side inflators, 26.9 million are for side airbags, and 14.5 million are installed in steering wheels. Takata “has until 2019 to demonstrate that all of the unrecalled airbag inflators are safe,” according toAutomotive News, which counts 28.8 million airbags as being recalled at this point.
UPDATE 5/3/2016, 6:15 p.m.: The Wall Street Journal reports that Takata will recall roughly 35 million additional airbag inflators in the U.S., involving tens of millions of vehicles.
UPDATE 5/4/2016, 11:15 a.m.: Honda has reported two additional deaths in Malaysia that may be related to defective Takata airbags. While authorities have not yet singled out the causes of either death, Honda said the driver’s-side front airbags in two City models from the 2006 and 2003 model years had ruptured in two separate crashes on April 16 and May 1. Both cars, which were not sold in the U.S., were under recall.
UPDATE 5/4/16, 1:15 p.m.: Confirming what we reported yesterday, NHTSA has announced that Takata will recall between 35 million and 40 million additional front-airbag inflators as part of an amended consent order between the Japanese supplier and the agency. All of the inflators in question are non-desiccated, which means they do not have a drying agent to compensate for humidity. So far, NHTSA says only the non-desiccated ammonium-nitrate inflators have been rupturing. Takata now has to prove that the desiccated inflators are safe or else it will be forced to recall those, as well. The recall, which will be conducted in phases, is expected to last until December 2019. Exact car models have not been identified.
UPDATE 5/6/2016, 12:30 p.m.: Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) have demanded that NHTSA release the entire list of car models with ammonium-nitrate propellant. “This right to know should not be limited to the owners of the seemingly randomly identified fraction of vehicles containing Takata airbags that have been slowly recalled to date,” the senators wrote to the agency. Blumenthal and Markey have repeatedly called on NHTSA to recall every airbag inflator with ammonium nitrate, although the agency is allowing Takata up to three years to prove they are safe.
UPDATE 5/13/2016, 1:30 p.m.: Honda will add another 21 million vehicles to its recalls associated with these Takata airbags, bringing the automaker’s worldwide total to 51 million vehicles. How many of those vehicles will be in the United States is unclear at this point, according to the New York Times, which attributes this information to Honda vice president Tetsuo Iwamura.
UPDATE 5/20/2016, 10:00 a.m.: Mercedes-Benz has expanded its Takata recall, adding 196,975 cars to its list, all of which require new passenger-side airbag inflators. The models are as follows, and they’ve been added to our list below: 2012–2014 C-class, 2012–2017 E-class coupe and cabriolet, 2013–2015 GLK-class, and 2015 SLS AMG coupe and cabriolet.
UPDATE 5/23/2016, 3:45 p.m.: NHTSA has announced a recall schedule so that the Takata airbag inflators likeliest to fail first will be repaired first. To do that, NHTSA has separated the country into three humidity zones and is prioritizing repairs to vehicles registered in states with the highest humidity. Many car owners will have to wait more than two years before they know their airbags are defective.
UPDATE 5/24/2016, 10:00 a.m.: Toyota has expanded its recall by about 1,584,000 vehicles in the United States, all for Takata-supplied passenger-side airbag inflators. The models are as follows, and they’ve been added to our list below: 2009–2011 Corolla and Matrix, 2011 Sienna, 2006–2011 Yaris, 2010–2011 4Runner, 2008–2011 Scion xB, 2007–2011 Lexus ES, 2010–2011 Lexus GX, 2006–2011 Lexus IS.
UPDATE 5/27/2016, 1:00 p.m.: Honda is recalling an additional 2.2 million cars in the U.S. for defective Takata passenger-side front airbags, as well as 2701 motorcycles for possibly defective optional handlebar airbags. The full list of cars in this recall are: the 2002–2004 Odyssey; 2003–2006 Acura MDX; 2003–2011 Pilot and Element; 2005–2011 CR-V and Acura RL; 2006–2011 Civic and Ridgeline; 2007–2011 Fit; 2008–2011 Accord; 2009–2011 Acura TSX; and 2010–2011 Accord Crosstour, Insight, FCX Clarity, and Acura ZDX. The 2006–2010 Honda GL1800 Gold Wing motorcycle is also included.
The vehicles previously not involved in this recall are: 2006–2011 Civic, 2006–2010 Gold Wing, 2007–2008 Fit, 2008–2011 Accord, 2009–2011 Pilot, 2009–2011 TSX, and 2010–2011 Accord Crosstour. They have been added to the list below.
UPDATE 5/31/2016, 11:30 a.m.: Ferrari is recalling 2820 cars as part of the expanded Takata passenger-side airbag recalls. This is the first time Ferrari has been involved with this defect. The 2009–2011 California and 2010–2011 458 Italia are included.
Fiat Chrysler is recalling 4,322,870 cars as part of the expanded Takata passenger-side airbag recalls. Newly added models include the 2011–2012 Chrysler 300, 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango, 2011–2012 Dodge Charger and Challenger, 2010 Ram 3500, 2007–2012 Jeep Wrangler, and the 2008–2009 Sterling Bullet 4500 and 5500.
Mazda is recalling 731,628 cars as part of the expanded Takata passenger-side airbag recalls. Newly added models include 2005–2006 MPV, 2007–2011 CX-7 and CX-9, and 2009–2011 Mazda 6 and RX-8.
Mitsubishi is recalling 38,628 cars as part of the expanded Takata passenger-side airbag recalls. Newly added models include the 2007 Lancer and Lancer Evolution.
Nissan is recalling 402,450 cars as part of the expanded Takata passenger-side airbag recalls. Newly added models include 2006–2008 Infiniti FX35 and FX45, 2007–2010 Infiniti M35 and M45, and 2007–2011 Versa.
Subaru is recalling 383,101 cars as part of the expanded Takata passenger-side airbag recalls. Newly added models include the 2006 Baja, 2006–2011 Impreza and Tribeca, and 2009–2011 Legacy, Outback, and Forester. The 2006 Saab 9-2X, built by Subaru, also is included in this total.
Our list below has been updated accordingly, but the recall totals for each brand haven’t yet been recalculated because some individual vehicles have already been accounted for in previous recalls for driver’s-side airbags.
UPDATE 6/1/2016, 10:00 a.m.: Ford has nearly doubled the number of vehicles it is recalling for defective Takata-sourced airbags, adding 1,287,726 vehicles to its count, all for passenger-side airbag inflators. The models are as follows, and they’ve been added to our list below: 2007–2010 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, 2005–2011 Ford Mustang, 2005–2006 Ford GT, 2007–2011 Ford Ranger, and 2006–2011 Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, and Lincoln MKZ and Zephyr. Of those, 608,717 Mustangs and about 400 GTs had already been recalled for their driver’s-side airbags; the other models are newly added.
UPDATE 6/1/2016, 3:00 p.m.: A report from Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) says that four automakers are continuing to use Takata airbag inflators containing non-desiccated ammonium nitrate in current new cars, despite tests proving these inflators are the most prone to ruptures. Fiat Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Volkswagen said they were using front-airbag inflators without the moisture-absorbing desiccant on certain 2016 and 2017 model year cars including the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Volkswagen CC, Audi TT, and Audi R8. Not all the manufacturers gave specific models to Nelson, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, who, in March, queried the original 14 automakers involved. Another five automakers are still using Takata’s ammonium-nitrate airbag inflators, with or without desiccant, including Daimler (vans only), Ford, Honda, Nissan, and Subaru. Nelson’s office says the “majority” of all replacement inflators installed as of May 20—4.6 million out of 8.4 million—are Takata ammonium-nitrate inflators. Of those, 2.1 million are non-desiccated. All of this is legal under NHTSA’s consent order, although all non-desiccated inflators will need to be recalled and replaced by 2019. Eventually, all of Takata’s ammonium-nitrate inflators may need to be recalled. It’s very confusing that automakers would be allowed to install parts that are known to be defective, except NHTSA thinks they won’t become defective until years later, at which time proper replacement parts will be available.
Meanwhile, Toyota has expanded its Takata recall by some 490,000 vehicles outside of the U.S., in places including Japan, China, Europe, Mexico, and South America. The vehicles in question include 2005–2011 Lexus products, as well as Toyota Siennas, 4Runners, Corollas, and Yarises.
UPDATE 6/2/2016, 10:00 a.m.: Audi is recalling 217,000 cars as part of the expanded Takata passenger-side airbag recalls. This recall affects the 2004–2008 Audi A4 and the 2005–2011 Audi A6. None of these vehicles had previously been included in these recalls.
BMW is recalling 91,806 SUVs as part of the expanded Takata passenger-side airbag recalls. This recall affects the 2007–2011 BMW X5, the 2008–2011 BMW X6, and the 2010–2011 BMW X6 ActiveHybrid.
General Motors is recalling 1.4 million 2007–2011 trucks and large SUVs for their Takata-supplied passenger-side airbags. The models are as follows, and they’ve been added to our list below: 2007–2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Avalanche, Tahoe, and Suburban; 2007–2011 GMC Sierra 1500, Yukon, and Yukon XL; 2007–2011 Cadillac Escalade, Escalade EXT, and Escalade ESV; 2009–2011 Silverado 2500 and 3500; 2009–2011 Sierra 2500 and 3500. None of these vehicles had previously been included in these recalls. GM reports that there have been no airbag ruptures in approximately 44,000 crashes of the recalled vehicles.
Jaguar Land Rover is recalling 54,350 vehicles as part of the expanded Takata passenger-side airbag recalls. This recall affects the 2007–2011 Land Rover Range Rover and the 2009–2011 Jaguar XF. None of these vehicles had previously been included in these recalls.
Mercedes-Benz is recalling 199,705 cars as part of the expanded Takata passenger-side airbag recalls. This recall affects the 2008–2011 C300 sedan, C350 sedan, and C63 AMG sedan; 2010–2011 GLK350 and E350 coupe; 2011 E350 convertible, E550 coupe and convertible, and the SLS AMG. Also, the brand’s parent company, Daimler, is recalling 5100 vans for the same issue: 2010–2011 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, 2009–2011 Freightliner Sprinter, and 2009 Dodge Sprinter.
UPDATE 6/7/2016, 10:30 a.m.: The owner of a 2006 Nissan X-Trail SUV has filed a suit against Takata and Nissan for wrist and head injuries she sustained in an October 2015 crash in Japan. The vehicle had been recalled for defective airbag inflators, but parts weren’t available at the time the woman’s husband took the SUV to a dealership to get it fixed. According to Automotive News, this is the first suit in Japan against Takata and an automaker for these airbags.
UPDATE 6/10/2016, 5:30 p.m.: Toyota has identified the new cars that still use non-desiccated Takata inflators. The 2015–2016 4Runner and Lexus GX460, 2015 Lexus IS250C and IS350C, and the 2015 Scion xB have these inflators and will need to be recalled by the end of 2018 even though they are still legal to sell. About 175,000 vehicles are affected in the U.S.
Meanwhile, Honda has recalled another 784,000 vehicles in Japan because of their Takata airbags, including Civic, Fit, and Odyssey models built between 2003 and 2009.
UPDATE 6/17/2016, 10:00 a.m.: Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co., Honda’s joint venture in China, is recalling 1 million vehicles for their Takata airbags, the Detroit News reports. Vehicles affected are Honda CR-V, Civic, and Civic hybrids as well as Platinum Rui sedans built between 2007 and 2011.
UPDATE 6/21/2016, 2:00 p.m.: Fiat Chrysler said it would stop using non-desiccated Takata airbag inflators with ammonium nitrate by next week. This applies to all of its cars built for the North American market. FCA will end production globally by mid-September. As of now, FCA said that only the 2016 Jeep Wrangler’s passenger-side front airbag used such an inflator and that it would notify potential buyers of any of these unsold vehicles. Without describing its methods, FCA also said it tested “nearly 6300 older versions” of this inflator and found no problems. The non-desiccated inflators are considered dangerous since they do not have a chemical to absorb moisture.
UPDATE 6/27/2016, 10:30 a.m.: Automotive News reports that a ruptured airbag appears to have caused a woman’s death in an accident in Malaysia. The driver of a 2005 Honda City was killed on Saturday, and the driver’s-side airbag was found to be ruptured. The official cause of death has yet to be declared as of this writing. The car involved in the accident had been recalled in May 2015, but it hadn’t been repaired. If verified, this would be the third death related to defective Takata airbags in Malaysia this year.
UPDATE 6/28/2016, 5:00 p.m.: Shigehisa Takada, the chief executive of automotive supplier Takata, announced in a shareholder meeting that he will resign once a “new management regime” has been selected.
UPDATE 6/30/2016, 2:30 p.m.: Seven Honda and Acura models from 2001–2003 pose the highest failure rate among all recalled vehicles, with as much as a 50 percent chance their airbag inflators will rupture, according to NHTSA. The agency identified the 2001–2002 Honda Civic and Accord, 2002 CR-V and Odyssey, 2002–2003 Acura TL, and 2003 Honda Pilot and Acura CL as the most dangerous. These cars were initially recalled for the defect between 2008 and 2011, and while “more than 70 percent” now have new inflators, there are still 313,000 vehicles with the original inflators. Eight of the 10 U.S. deaths involving Takata airbag inflators have involved this group of Honda and Acura models.
UPDATE 7/8/2016, 10:00 a.m.: Roughly 1.4 million vehicles have been recalled in Japan for their Takata airbags. Mitsubishi recalled 520,000 vehicles, Mazda 490,000, Subaru 290,000, and Mercedes-Benz 93,000. Of particular note for U.S. owners is that Mazda said the 2 (known as the Demio in Japan) will be recalled in America; the company recalled 74,310 Mazda 2s in China built between 2007 and 2015.
UPDATE 7/19/2016, 5:00 p.m.: An internal audit conducted by Takata and Honda found the airbag supplier manipulated airbag test data that stripped out poorer results, according to Bloomberg. Examples of “selective editing,” according to former IIHS president Brian O’Neill, who conducted the audit, resulted in a report that was a “prettier shortened version” of what actually occurred. Depositions of several Takata engineers from an ongoing lawsuit found that reports to Nissan, Toyota, and General Motors were similarly doctored. Takata said the audit’s findings were “entirely inexcusable.”
UPDATE 7/20/2016, 3:30 p.m.: The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has identified additional new cars that still use non-desiccated Takata inflators. They are: 2016 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, 2016–2017 Mercedes-Benz E-class coupe/convertible, 2016 Ferrari FF, 2016–2017 Ferrari California T, 2016–2017 Ferrari 488GTB/488 Spider, 2016–2017 Ferrari F12/F12tdf, and 2017 Ferrari GTC4Lusso. These vehicles remain legal for sale, but, per NHTSA, they must be recalled by the end of 2018. Audi, Lexus, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Volkswagen had previously been found to still be building new cars with the suspect airbags.
UPDATE 7/21/2016, 2:00 p.m.: General Motors has stated that it may have to recall an additional 4.3 million vehicles in the U.S. for their defective Takata airbags, which would cost the company an estimated $550 million, according to Automotive News. GM recently added 2.5 million vehicles to its list of Takata recalls, the repair costs for which will cost as much as $320 million.
Also, Mazda has added 3743 B-series pickups from the 2007–2009 model years to its list of vehicles recalled due to potentially defective Takata airbag inflators; these trucks are being recalled for the passenger-side airbags. This is in accordance to the recall schedule we described on May 23. These Mazdas are located in what is known as Zone B, which includes Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Previously, 2004–2006 B-series trucks had been recalled; our list below has been updated to reflect these additional model years.
UPDATE 8/5/2016, 11:00 a.m.: NHTSA is expanding its investigation of airbag supplier ARC Automotive to 8 million potentially defective airbags after the driver of a 2009 Hyundai Elantra was killed in Canada last month. Automotive News reportsthat the car’s airbag inflator was manufactured in China, unlike inflators in U.S.-market Elantras from the same time period. General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, and Kia also used ARC airbags that are part of this probe. In July 2015, NHTSA began investigating ARC for airbags produced in Tennessee after airbag-related injuries were reported in crashes of a 2002 Chrysler Town & Country and a 2004 Kia Optima. Preliminary investigations of inflators made by ARC, which is unaffiliated with Takata, show “significant design differences between the ARC inflators and the Takata inflators currently under recall.”
UPDATE 8/5/2016, 9:00 p.m.: Jaguar Land Rover has expanded its recall by another 54,000 vehicles in the United States. The recalls affects 2007–2011 Land Rover Range Rover and 2009–2011 Jaguar XF models for potentially defective passenger-side airbag inflators. Vehicles from these models and model years were first recalled in May 2016; this action essentially doubles the recalled population. Jaguar Land Rover says that “affected vehicles are being prioritized for repair—split into four separate phases—based on geographic zone and vehicle age” and that customers will be notified by mail later this year when parts become available. In a statement, the company went on to say that it “is not aware of any case of an airbag module rupture on any of the 108,000 vehicles included in this recall.”
Acura: 2002–2003, 2009–2014 TL; 2003 CL; 2003–2006 MDX; 2005–2012 RL; 2007–2016 RDX; 2009–2011 TSX; 2010–2013 ZDX; 2013–2016 ILX
Audi (approximately 387,000): 2004–2008 A4; 2005–2011 A6; 2006–2013 A3; 2006–2009 A4 cabriolet; 2009–2012 Q5; 2010–2011 A5 cabriolet; 2015 Q5
BMW (1,968,283): 2000–2011 3-series sedan; 2000–2012 3-series wagon; 2002–2013 3-series coupe and convertible; 2001–2013 M3 coupe and convertible; 2002–2003 5-series and M5; 2003–2004, 2007–2013 X5; 2007–2010 X3; 2008–2013 1-series coupe and convertible; 2008–2011 M3 sedan; 2008–2014 X6; 2013–2015 X1
Buick: 2015 LaCrosse
Cadillac: 2007–2011 Escalade, Escalade EXT, and Escalade ESV; 2015 XTS
Chevrolet (approximately 1.91 million, including Buick, Cadillac, GMC, Saab, and Saturn): 2007–2011 Silverado 1500, Avalanche, Tahoe, and Suburban; 2007–2011 Silverado HD; 2015 Camaro, Equinox, and Malibu
Chrysler: 2005–2012 300; 2006–2007 Crossfire; 2007–2009 Aspen
Daimler: 2006–2009 Dodge Sprinter 2500 and 3500; 2007–2014 Freightliner Sprinter 2500 and 3500
Dodge/Ram (more than 5.64 million, including Chrysler, not including Daimler-built Sprinter): 2003–2008 Ram 1500; 2003–2010 Ram 3500; 2005–2012 Charger; 2005–2010 Magnum; 2005–2011 Dakota; 2004–2009 Durango; 2003–2009 Ram 2500; 2008–2012 Challenger; 2008–2010 Ram 4500 and Ram 5500; 2008–2009 Sterling Bullet 4500 and 5500
Ferrari (2820): 2009–2011 California; 2010–2011 458 Italia
Ford (2,799,546, including Lincoln and Mercury): 2004–2011 Ranger; 2005–2006 GT; 2005–2014 Mustang; 2006–2011 Fusion; 2007–2010 Edge
GMC: 2007–2011 Sierra HD; 2015 Terrain
Honda (approximately 10.7 million, including Acura): 2001–2007 Accord (four-cylinder), 2001–2002 Accord (V-6), 2008–2011 Accord; 2001–2011 Civic; 2002–2011, 2016 CR-V; 2002–2004 Odyssey; 2003–2005 Civic Hybrid; 2003–2011 Element; 2003–2011 Pilot; 2006–2010 Gold Wing motorcycle; 2006–2014 Ridgeline; 2007–2014 Fit; 2010–2011 Accord Crosstour; 2010–2014 FCX Clarity; 2010–2014 Insight; 2011–2015 CR-Z
Infiniti: 2001–2004 I30/I35; 2002–2003 QX4; 2003–2008 FX35/FX45; 2006–2010 M35/M45
Jaguar (approximately 40,000): 2009–2011 XF
Jeep: 2007–2012 Wrangler
Land Rover (approximately 68,000): 2007–2011 Range Rover
Lexus: 2002–2010 SC430; 2006–2011 IS; 2007–2011 ES; 2010–2011 GX
Lincoln: 2006–2011 Lincoln Zephyr and MKZ; 2007–2010 Lincoln MKX
Mazda (more than 733,000): 2003–2011 Mazda 6; 2006–2007 Mazdaspeed 6; 2004–2011 RX-8; 2004–2006 MPV; 2004–2009 B-series; 2007–2011 CX-7 and CX-9
Mercedes-Benz (1,044,602, including Daimler): 2005–2014 C-class (excluding C55 AMG but including 2009–2011 C63 AMG); 2007–2008 SLK-class; 2007–2014 Sprinter; 2009–2012 GL-class; 2009–2011 M-class, 2009–2012 R-class; 2010–2017 E-class sedan, wagon, coupe, and convertible; 2010–2015 GLK-class; 2011–2015 SLS AMG coupe and roadster
Mercury: 2006–2011 Milan
Mitsubishi (more than 105,000): 2004–2007 Lancer and Lancer Evolution; 2006–2009 Raider
Nissan (more than 1,091,000, including Infiniti): 2001–2003 Maxima; 2002–2004 Pathfinder; 2002–2006 Sentra; 2007–2011 Versa
Pontiac (approximately 300,000): 2003–2007 Vibe
Saab: 2003–2011 9-3; 2005–2006 9-2X; 2010–2011 9-5
Saturn: 2008–2009 Astra
Scion: 2008–2011 xB
Subaru (more than 380,000): 2003–2005, 2009–2011 Legacy and Outback; 2004–2011 Impreza; 2005–2006 Baja; 2006–2011 Tribeca; 2009–2011 Forester
Toyota (approximately 4,697,000, including Lexus and Scion): 2002–2007 Sequoia; 2003–2011 Corolla and Corolla Matrix; 2003–2006 Tundra; 2004–2005 RAV4; 2006–2011 Yaris; 2010–2011 4Runner; 2011 Sienna
Volkswagen (680,000): 2006–2010, 2012–2014 Passat; 2009–2014 CC; 2010–2014 Jetta SportWagen and Golf; 2012–2014 Eos; 2015 Tiguan
We will update this list as soon as new information is available, but you can access NHTSA’s own running tally of affected vehicles here. For further information about your specific vehicle, go to the manufacturer’s consumer website or use NHTSA’s VIN-lookup tool.
- Injured Takata Victim Urges Car Owners to Get Recalled Airbags Replaced
- Recalls Explained: How the Government Forces Automakers to Fix Things
- Honda and Takata Allegedly Knew About Airbag Deaths for Years
This story was originally published on October 21, 2014. It has subsequently been updated to reflect the latest findings and official list of affected vehicles.