10th Takata Air Bag Death; Recall Expands By 5 Million

Takata Recall

Things just got worse in the massive Takata air bag recall. The biggest automotive recall in history is getting even bigger. And the NHTSA is reporting a tenth death attributed to the faulty inflators – the first one in a vehicle other than a Honda. This time, it was a Ford.

The new case is one reason the U.S. government is adding 5 million more vehicles to the recall list. What we don’t know yet is what exact make and models are impacted. The announcement came late Friday.

The latest death involves a Georgia man who was killed last month when his driver’s-side inflater exploded in a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup. NHTSA spokesman Gordon Trowbridge said that before the deadly accident, testing of 1,900 inflators in the Ranger had uncovered no problems.

“We are saddened to hear about the driver’s death and offer our sincere condolences to the family of the driver,” John Cangany, a Ford spokesman, said in an email reported by the New York Times. “We are working with the agency to review the available information, but we have very limited information at this point.”

NHTSA officials say the other reason they’re expanding the recall is that officials want to include another type of inflator that hasn’t done well in recent testing.

Here are how the numbers break down:

  • 1 million vehicles that use the type of driver-side air bag inflator found in the Ranger.
  • 4 million other cars and trucks could be subject to recall because they use a different type of inflator that ruptured three times in recent tests of the Toyota RAV4, according to the NHTSA. Brands include Ford, Volkswagen, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

The new action brings the number of Takata air bag inflators recalled to 28 million from 12 automakers. That boils down to as many as 24 million vehicles in the United States.

As of late December, about a quarter of recalled vehicles had received replacement air bags. In hot, humid areas where air bags are most likely to rupture, the recall repair rate is slightly higher.

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