Regulators Send Letters To Seven Additional Automakers Related To Shrapnel-Shooting Takata Airbags

takata logoWhile federal regulators reduced the number of vehicles equipped with potentially deadly Takata airbags, more could be added to the list that already includes 19.2 million after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sent letters last week to seven additional automakers warning that their cars include the shrapnel-shooting safety devices.  

The Associated Press reports that the regulator sent letters to Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar-Land Rover, Suzuki, Tesla, Volvo Trucks, Volkswagen and Spartan Motors seeking information on which of their models have Takata inflators.

“It is expected that the scope of the current Takata recalls may expand as time goes on and will likely grow to include vehicles that are outside the scope of the current recalls,” the letters said.

The current Takata recall focuses on 11 automakers: BMW, Daimler Trucks, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota.

According to the letter, NHTSA is asking the seven additional automakers to identify which models use a specific Takata airbag inflator with ammonium nitrate as the propellant.

The letters were initiated as a result of Takata’s theory that the cause of the problem is that the chemical degrades over time, which “could potentially lead to overaggressive combustion or potentially cause the inflator to rupture,” the AP reports.

While Volkswagen – which is at the center of an unrelated emissions scandal related to 11 million vehicles – wasn’t previously part of the Takata recall, it was under investigation by NHTSA related to a June crash involving an SUV in which the side air bag inflated with too much force and blew apart the inflator canister.

VW said at the time that it was working with NHTSA and Takata to better understand the problem.

Mercedes confirmed that the company uses Takata airbags, just not those connected to previous recalls. A spokesperson said the company was gathering information to provide NHTSA, the AP reports.

The six other manufacturers were unavailable to provide comment to the AP.

Takata air bag recalls could expand to 7 more companies [The Associated Press]