Update June 10: Toyota Motor Corp. said Friday it had told its U.S. dealers to disclose, at the time of sale, the identity of vehicles with defective Takata airbag inflators that will be subject to recalls by 2018.
Well I wish we could said this is totally shocking. But it is, quite frankly, disturbing.
Several automakers are still selling new vehicles with potentially defective Takata airbags linked to at least 13 deaths worldwide. This, according to a new report by the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee that oversees the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
What’s crazy to us is that it’s perfectly legal for them to do so.
The report by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) says Toyota Motor Corp., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Volkswagen AG and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. automakers confirm they are continuing to sell some vehicles with ammonium-nitrate inflators without a drying agent.
These are the same type of inflators that recently led the NHTSA to expand the Takata recall by another 35 to 40 million vehicles. Without the drying agent, the chemical in the inflators can degrade and eventually cause a rupture.
The problem is that due to the sheer number of vehicles involved, it will take several years to officially identify and recall them all. Until they are actually recalled, it’s not illegal to sell vehicles equipped with the suspect devices.
“What’s troubling here is that consumers are buying new cars not realizing they’re going to be recalled,” Nelson said in a statement. “These cars shouldn’t be sold until they’re fixed.”
We agree Senator Nelson.
Vehicles being sold now with the faulty inflators must be recalled by 2018 to get their airbags replaced. According to Automotive News, those vehicles include the 2016-2017 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, 2016 Volkswagen CC, 2016 Audi TT and 2017 Audi R8.
The report also lists these additional details:
- TOYOTA: The report said Toyota expects to produce about 175,000 vehicles with the defective Takata inflators between March 2016 and July 2017.
- FCA: Fiat Chrysler told the committee that at least one of its current models contains a frontal passenger-side airbag that uses the ammonium-nitrate inflators without a desiccant or drying agent. But the automaker says it’s not selling any vehicles under current recall.
- HONDA: Honda, which has recalled the most vehicles, told the Senate committee that 17,000 new vehicles are already equipped with inflators without drying agents, but that no new vehicles will be equipped with such inflators moving forward.
Overall, the airbag recall now involves close to 70 million inflators. Over the past week, a number of automakers have updated make and model lists to account for vehicles part of the recently expanded recall.