2017-07-25 09:43:03
Ford and Mazda Hope to Be Removed From Latest Airbag Recall

Ford Motor and Mazda plan to ask federal safety regulators to exclude their vehicles from the latest expansion of the widespread recall of airbag inflaters made by Takata, a Japanese supplier that sought bankruptcy protection in June.

Earlier this month, Takata added 2.7 million vehicles to a recall aimed at replacing defective airbags that can explode too violently and have been linked to at least 17 deaths, including 12 in the United States. That expansion adds to an effort that had previously been expected to cover 70 million inflaters in 42 countries.

The 2.7 million vehicles include more than two million made by Ford, as well as some from Mazda and Nissan. But on Tuesday, Ford informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it intended to fight the recall, saying its inflaters contain a chemical compound that has proved effective in preventing violent ruptures.

“We intend to file a petition with N.H.T.S.A. to further study our inflaters,” Ford said in a statement. “At this point, there is no data to suggest a recall is needed.”

Takata inflaters use ammonium nitrate to create a controlled explosion that rapidly inflates airbags in the event of a collision. But prolonged exposure to moisture and temperature fluctuations can make the compound unstable and cause it to combust suddenly. In such events, drivers or occupants have been sprayed with shards of metal and plastic.

Over the years, Takata has used a variety of chemical agents to keep the propellant dry, with some combinations showing a greater propensity to fail than others, according to federal regulators.

Ford said it had tested “hundreds” of its vehicles that use Takata airbags and calcium sulfate as a drying agent. These inflaters “have not shown any propellant degradation, and have pressure measurements within specification,” Ford said.

Ford has until Aug. 17 to file data and documentation to support its request. N.H.T.S.A. will review the material and make a final decision whether to grant an exemption to the recall.

The affected Ford vehicles include the Ford Ranger, Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans and Edge sport utility vehicle from various model years ranging from 2006 to 2012.

Mazda said it was supporting Ford’s petition because its vehicles included in the expanded recall were pickup trucks made for Mazda by Ford.

Nissan said in a statement that it was going forward with the recall “out of an abundance of caution.”

Takata’s problems with defective devices began in 2008, when Honda initially recalled 4,000 vehicles that used Takata technology.

In February, Takata pleaded guilty to fraud charges, acknowledging that it had provided false safety test data. The company agreed to provide $875 million to compensate automakers for costs related to recalls, and $125 million for people killed or injured.

The Justice Department has also filed criminal charges against three Takata executives. Those cases are pending.

The most recent death related to Takata airbags was reported this month when Honda said a person in Florida died last summer after an inflater ruptured in a parked 2001 Accord during an attempt to make an unspecified repair with a hammer.