Ford recalls 1m vehicles over exploding Takata airbags

9 January 2019

Fears over dangerous airbags that have already been responsible for 15 deaths and at least 250 injuries in the US have prompted Ford to recall almost a million vehicles in the US and Canada.

The move is the latest development in the biggest recall in US automotive history which began in 2016 and will continue throughout this year.

Airbags manufactured by Japanese firm Takata, which went bankrupt in 2017, can kill or injure drivers and passengers due to a fault that can result in the metal inflator meant to fill airbags with gas exploding and shooting out shrapnel.

This is because the chemical propellant used deteriorates over over time when exposed to high humidity and temperature.

This can result in it burning too fast and with too much force when the airbag is activated in a crash.

Ford is recalling 782,384 vehicles in the US and 149,652 in Canada. The models affected are the 2010 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, the 2010-11 Ford Ranger, the 2010-12 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ, the 2010-11 Mercury Milan, and the 2010-14 Ford Mustang.

The automotive manufacturer confirmed the move in a statement issued last week and John Gardiner, executive director, Ford of Europe, told SM: “This recall does not affect vehicles in Europe or the UK.”

The faulty airbags have been used by a number of car manufacturers, including BMW, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota and Honda.

Affected vehicles vary widely in age, having been manufactured between 2000 and 2017.

Around 37m vehicles equipped with 50m defective Takata airbags are under recall, according to the US National Highways Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

It warns: “Certain 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles, 2006 Ford Ranger, and Mazda B-Series trucks are at a far higher risk for an air bag explosion that could injure or kill vehicle occupants. These are referred to as “Alpha” air bags. These vehicles can and should be repaired immediately.”

Worryingly, more than three years after the NHTSA took over management of recalls, a third of the faulty inflators still have not been replaced, according to an annual report from the government and a court-appointed monitor.

And SM recently reported concerns by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over the fact that there remain 1.4m Takata airbags in Australian vehicles.

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