Automakers in the US might soon have to recall more than 50 million vehicles according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This is after the agency published its Initial Decision that certain airbag inflators manufactured by ARC and Delphi should be recalled.
If the recall is carried out, BMW, Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, General Motors, Hyundai, Kia, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Tesla, Toyota, and Volkswagen will all be required to recall the impacted vehicles. The suspected airbag inflators were manufactured between 2000 and 2018. During that time period, ARC produced 41 million inflators, whereas Delphi produced 11 million before ceasing production in 2004.
Since 2016, the NHTSA has been examining claims of rupturing airbag inflators from the two firms. The agency requested that ARC begin a recall in April, but the firm declined. According to the Initial Decision, the agency believes that the friction welding procedure used to connect the inflator’s upper and lower pressure vessels can generate slag that can obstruct the inflator exit during airbag deployment. If the slag is large enough, it can cause the inflator to over-pressurize and burst, resulting in shrapnel and metal shards entering the passenger compartment.
So far, seven individuals have been reported injured and one person has been died as a result of rupturing inflators. The first incidence occurred in 2009, with the most recent occurring in March 2023 in a Chevrolet Traverse. People have been wounded in vehicles manufactured by Kia, Chrysler, Hyundai, and Volkswagen.
On October 5, the NHTSA will hold a public meeting, which will be livestreamed, enabling ARC and others to argue that the inflators do not have a safety issue. The government agency did not specify when it will make a final decision.