NHTSA Expands Recall to 6.1 Million as Airbag Issue Explodes
|   Monday, October 27, 2014
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has expanded its recall of vehicles equipped with Takata-manufactured airbags to 6.1 million vehicles.

The expansion follows what seems to be an explosion of events that began late last week with Toyota issuing a re-notification and recall of about 267,000 2003 and 2004 Corollas that may have been equipped with faulty airbags made by Takata.

The defective Takata airbags is potentially deadly as it breaks into pieces upon deployment, hurling metal shards around the passenger cabin like shrapnel.
If one of the pieces of shrapnel strikes a passenger, it can cause serious wounds or death. So far as many as four people have been reported killed by the airbags.

Toyota's renotification /recall notice reminds drivers to be sure no one sits in the right front passenger seats because that is the position most affected by the defect. The defect occurs primarily in high-humidity climates where the humidity can damage the airbag, making it potentially lethal. In the United States, the areas primarily affected by the recall include South Florida, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Guam and Saipan.

The Toyota announcement was quickly followed by NHTSA action as the safety agency announced that the defective Takata airbags were employed by other automakers, not just Toyota. The agency named the automakers who are feeling the impact of the recall. They include:

- Toyota
- Nissan
- Honda
- Mazda
- Mitsubishi
- Subaru
- Chrysler
- Ford
- General Motors

General Motors announced during the weekend that the 2004 Pontiac Vibe is slated to be recalled because it is affected by the defective airbag. In issuing the first of what could be several recalls, GM's spokesman Al Slater told Automotive News that the automaker is warning the owners affected by the recall to be sure that no one sits in the front passenger seat. He also noted that the automaker is encouraging customers to have the recall work completed as quickly as possible. GM is sending overnight letters to owners advising them of the problem.

As the recall churned through the industry and into the early part of this week, NHTSA further expanded the recall to 6.1 million vehicles. NHTSA, too, is urging owners affected by the recall to have their vehicles inspected and repaired as quickly as possible. It is possible that as many as 7.2 million vehicles may face recall.
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