The Takata airbag recall was the largest automotive safety recall in U.S. history, and it’s still going on. Worldwide, approximately 100 million airbag inflators have been recalled from vehicles manufactured by 19 major automakers. The automakers all sourced their airbags from Takata, and some of the inflators were defective.
When the airbag inflators were defective, they sometimes caused the airbag assembly to break and send dangerous metal fragments flying through the passenger compartment. These faulty inflators caused at least 400 injuries and 27 deaths, including 18 fatalities in the U.S.
Even knowing the danger, some automakers have concluded that recalling the potentially faulty airbag assemblies would not be worth the trouble. In November, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rejected GM’s petition to avoid recalling about 5.9 million vehicles in the U.S. with the potentially defective inflators.
Now, it has rejected a similar petition by Ford. The company argued that it had already recalled the vehicles to replace passenger-side airbag assemblies.
“We believe our extensive data demonstrated that a safety recall was not warranted for the driver-side airbag. However, we respect NHTSA’s decision and will issue a recall,” said a spokesperson.
Ford will therefore recall 2.7 million U.S. vehicles, including these from the 2006-2012 model year:
- Ford Ranger
- Ford Fusion
- Ford Edge
- Lincoln Zephyr/MKZ
- Lincoln MKX
- Mercury Milan
Ford disclosed after announcing the recall that it expects the recall to cost $610 million.
NHTSA is also requiring Mazda to recall 5,800 inflators in 2007-2009 B-Series vehicles.
The automakers will notify owners of the affected vehicles in the next few months. In the meantime, you can look up whether your car is involved in any open recalls by using NHTSA’s recall website.
You will need to identify your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN), which is available from your car’s title, many insurance documents, and several places on your vehicle. For example, it is printed on the frame of the driver’s side door and at the base of the windshield on the driver’s side.
If you have been injured by a malfunctioning airbag or any auto part, discuss your situation with an attorney who handles product liability.