After the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ordered Ford to issue a recall for Takata driver-side airbag inflators on Tuesday, rejecting the carmaker’s 2017 petition to avoid the inconvenience, Ford has now said that it will recall three million vehicles for the suspect part, which could rupture and cause injury or death.
The recall, which includes 2.7 million vehicles in the US, will cost Ford US$610 million (RM2.47 billion), the carmaker said, adding that the charge will be included in its Q4 results.
Models involved include 2006-2012 model-year Ford Ranger, Ford Fusion, Ford Edge, Lincoln Zephyr/MKZ, Mercury Milan and the Lincoln MKX. NHTSA also required Mazda to recall 5,800 units of 2007–2009 B-Series pick-up trucks, which are based on the Ranger and built by Ford.
The Blue Oval explained that the cars involved were previously recalled for passenger-side airbag inflators. “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,” Ford conceded.
In rare instances, when the potentially defective airbag inflators are exposed long term to high humidity, they may rupture and shoot out shards of metal fragments. According to Reuters, Takata inflators have resulted in the deaths of at least 27 people worldwide (including Malaysia) and 18 in the US, and over 400 reported injuries. Two of the deaths were from the previously recalled 2006 Ford Ranger trucks.
The scary possibility kicked off the largest automotive recall in history involving more than 67 million inflators in the US alone. Worldwide, about 100 million inflators installed by 19 automakers have been recalled. The US auto safety regulator said the “evidence makes clear that these inflators pose a significant safety risk”.
Earlier this year, it said at least 17 million vehicles with the affected airbags are yet to be repaired. Even in Malaysia, some inflators have not been replaced yet – if your car is involved, what are you waiting for?
Ford isn’t alone on this. In November last year, the NHTSA said it was rejecting a petition filed by fellow Detroit carmaker General Motors to avoid the recall of 5.9 million 2007-2014 model year Takata-equipped vehicles in the US. Its hand forced, GM then said it would recall seven million vehicles worldwide.
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