Despite Takata’s protests, the recall of vehicles with its potentially deadly airbags is now a national action as BMW expanded its recall from regional to national status. The German maker was the last of five automakers receiving pressure from federal regulators.
BMW agreed on Monday to expand its recall of vehicles with possible defective driver-side air bags by 140,000 3 Series cars from model years 2004-06. The automaker already had recalled about 11,700 cars with driver-side Takata air bags in high-humidity states.
Officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have been pressuring Takata and five automakers – Mazda, Honda, Ford, Chrysler and BMW – to expand the scope of the recall for several weeks. Toyota and Honda acted quickly, but Ford, Chrysler and BMW were resistant suggesting they were unsure the move was prudent.
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“All five affected automakers have agreed to conduct a national recall of defective driver’s side air bags made by Takata at our request,” David Friedman, NHTSA deputy administrator, said in a Detroit News story. “BMW notified us today of their intent and we’re reviewing their official filing to ensure that it captures all affected models and years.”
Takata has adamantly refused to agree to the request saying that making the move will divert replacement parts from parts of the country that need them the most. The initial regional recall was for parts of the country with high humidity.
Takata, which has stumbled in its handling of the problem, took out a full-page ad attempting to quell fears about the airbags and stem the rising tide of sentiment pushing for a national recall. The ad, which was an open letter from Takata CEO Shigehisa Takada, was published in The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and three German papers.
(Takata runs full-page ad claiming it will do more. For more, Click Here.)
In the letter, Takada, who is the grandson of the company’s founder, outlined what the company was doing to try and rectify the situation, such as increasing the number of replacement parts being manufactured from 300,000 a month to 450,000, asking other airbag suppliers to produce parts and tripling the amount of testing it’s conducting on airbags.
(Click Here for details of the government’s plans to force Takata, makers to expand recall.)
The initial recall of 7.8 million vehicles impacted 10 automakers. The airbags can explode sending plastic and metal shrapnel into the cabin of the vehicle. The defect has been blamed for five deaths and dozens of injuries in the U.S.
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Last week, Ford and Chrysler expanded their recalls of vehicles with the faulty airbags. Chrysler called back an additional 3 million cars and trucks. Ford added another 447,000 vehicles to the recall. Honda and Mazda had previously agreed.
In total, 10 automakers have now recalled more than 14.6 million vehicles with Takata air bags since 2013. Those 10 automakers met recently in metro Detroit to discuss how to best handle the testing needed to determine why the inflators are failing. They agreed to hire a single company to take charge of the process and share the costs.