(This story has been updated.)
Already under fire for its handling of several recent major safety issues, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continues to debate how far to expand the recall of vehicles equipped with potentially faulty airbags produced by Japanese supplier Takata Corp.
With NHTSA officials set to testify before Congress on Wednesday, the agency confirmed it is still seeking a nationwide recall of driver-side airbags, but that it is not yet calling for a similar action for passenger-side airbags. The safety agency was sharply criticized following its initial decision in October to order a recall of 7.8 million vehicles in areas with high humidity where the risk of airbag failures was considered most serious.
The big question is whether Takata will accept NHTSA’s midnight deadline and agree to go along with the expanded driver’s side airbag recall before tomorrow’s Capitol Hill hearing.
Takata Chairman Shigehisa Takada was expected to announce a decision on Tuesday but failed to reveal the company’s position.