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General Motors Forced to Recall Nearly 6 Million Vehicles Due to Defective Takata Airbags

General Motors Forced to Recall Nearly 6 Million Vehicles Due to Defective Takata Airbags

Author: Eric Walz   

U.S. automaker General Motors is being forced to recall millions of vehicles due faulty airbag inflators, which can injure occupants if the vehicle's airbags are deployed during an accident, Reuters reports. 

The airbags in question were supplied by Japanese auto supplier Takata Corporation and are installed in GM vehicles beginning in the 2007 model year through 2014. The recall includes popular GM models, including the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Sierra and GMC Yukon vehicles built over the eight-year period.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said GM must recall 5.9 million pickups and SUVs because the airbag inflators "are at risk of the same type of explosion after long-term exposure to high heat and humidity as other recalled Takata inflators."

The automaker initially tried to avoid the recall by petitioning the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). GM argued that recalling the vehicles was not necessary because they did not pose a safety risk. 

In its latest securities filing, the automaker said such a recall would cost the company $1.2 billion. 

However the U.S. safety agency said Monday it had rejected GM's petition to avoid the callback affecting millions of vehicles.

The automaker said on Monday it still believed "a recall of these vehicles is not warranted based on the factual and scientific record." Still the company said it "will abide by NHTSA's decision and begin taking the necessary steps."

The defect with Takata's airbag inflators is well documented and led to widespread recalls in the past. The Takata airbag recall was the largest automotive recall in U.S. history. The airbag inflators in question were installed in tens of millions of vehicles from 19 different automakers. In rare instances the airbag inflators can rupture during airbag deployment sending potentially deadly metal fragments flying in the cabin.

The costs associated replacing the inflators led to Takata filing for bankruptcy in June 2017. The company was acquired by Key Safety Systems in 2018 and is now defunct.

In total, 18 U.S. deaths have been linked to faulty Takata airbag inflators since 2009, including 15 deaths reported in Honda vehicles and two in Ford Motor Co vehicles and one in a BMW model.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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