New cars being sold with potentially defective Takata airbags

The number of automakers known to sell or that have plans to sell new vehicles that are equipped with potentially defective, and allegedly deadly, Takata airbags has grown from four to seven, according to a report released July 20, 2016 by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Manufacturers previously reported:

  • Fiat Chrysler
  • Mitsubishi
  • Toyota
  • Volkswagen

Recently added to the list:

  • Daimler Vans
  • Ferrari
  • Mercedes-Benz

The report, “Update to The Takata Recalls: Consumers are Still Stuck in Neutral,” expounds on an earlier investigation conducted by Committee Member Bill Nelson that was published in June 2016. Nelson wrote letters to 14 automakers in March 2016 seeking information on their recall efforts and continued use of Takata airbags. The airbags, which at times send metal shrapnel flying at drivers and passengers upon impact in a violent explosion, have allegedly been linked to 14 deaths and more than 130 injuries. A recall of roughly 70 million vehicles in the U.S., and 100 million worldwide, has been labeled the largest consumer product recall in U.S. history.

News that airbags that will have to be recalled by the end of 2018 are being installed in new vehicles came amid an already strained effort to repair millions of vehicles that were currently on the road. In its June report, the Committee reported that data provided by 11 of the 14 automakers showed completion rates ranged from an “unacceptably low” .04 to 39.5 percent. Three other automakers reported that they had not yet started replacing the airbags.

Non-desiccated ammonium-nitrate inflators that are reportedly being installed in some vehicles manufactured by the seven automakers must be recalled by the end of 2018, an amended Takata Consent Order mandates. 

In June, after the release of the Committee’s initial report, Toyota and FCA announced plans to order dealerships to inform consumers of the looming recall date. In addition, BMW reported that non-desiccated ammonium-nitrate inflators had been installed in some 2015 vehicles. BMW did not say, however, whether those vehicles were currently being sold, according to the report.