Recall of 67 Million Air Bag Inflators Demanded by U.S.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has demanded the recall of 67 million ARC airbag inflators due to a safety defect. ARC Automotive, however, has rejected the regulator’s request despite an agreement from General Motors to recall almost one million vehicles with these inflators. The recall follows a March incident where a driver was injured by a rupture in an ARC airbag inflator. The inflators are used by General Motors, Stellantis, BMW, Hyundai Motor, and Kia Motors, and NHTSA claims that they pose an unreasonable risk of death or injury. However, ARC rejected NHTSA’s conclusion, stating that ruptures occurred due to seven field ruptures in the US. The company added that none of the automakers using the inflators have concluded that a systemic defect exists.

NHTSA’s request concerns 67 million driver and passenger frontal airbag inflators produced for the US market, used across dozens of models from 12 vehicle manufacturers. Delphi manufactured around 11 million under a licensing agreement with ARC. ARC argued that there have been several testing programs of inflators collected from scrapped or other vehicles, where not a single rupture occurred. NHTSA has been investigating ARC’s inflators for more than seven years, upgrading a probe of over 8 million inflators in 2016 after a driver was killed in a Hyundai vehicle in Canada. Initially, NHTSA opened an investigation in July 2015 after two reported injuries.

The recall comes after a decade where more than 67 million Takata airbag inflators were recalled in the US, and more than 100 million worldwide. These airbags have been linked to more than 30 deaths worldwide, including 24 in the US, and hundreds of injuries in different automakers’ vehicles since 2009. The Takata airbags can explode, unleashing metal shrapnel inside cars and trucks. The most recent death was in July 2022 in a 2010 Chrysler 300, one of three Stellantis deaths in a seven-month period.

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