Takata’s Airbags Could Be General Motors’ Next Recall Headache

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Source: GM

It hasn’t exactly been an easy year for General Motors (NYSE:GM) on the recall front. Although things appear to be improving for its own quality assurance issues, another hill to climb has recently loomed on the horizon. It’s also a hill that numerous other automakers from around the world have already hiked this year — and it’s named Takata.

The Japanese firm, which is among the largest suppliers of airbags in the industry, revealed earlier this year that millions of its units — used in brands from Fiat to Ford — were possibly defective and may not perform as intended in the event of a crash. Reuters reports that so far, roughly 4.3 million units are covered under Takata’s recalls, but GM has remained largely immune to its issues (instead dealing with its own fair share), at least until now.

Reports of air bag explosions in Florida and other humid regions spurred an investigation into the matter earlier this year, and nine automakers were affected by the fallout. On its website, Takata still notes that the total number of affected vehicles is still undetermined.

Reuters reported that General Motors refused to comment for the story, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the first time listed the Detroit-based conglomerate as a potential victim of Takata’s units earlier this month. The scope of the number of vehicles made by General Motors was still undetermined, the NHTSA said.

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Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Over the last six years, Takata has recalled nearly 16 million faulty airbag units, including region recalls, Reuters said. The company is now struggling to meet the new demand for inflators to outfit on the recalled vehicles, because of a shortage of wire harnesses used in the component.

Essentially, the airbags have a nasty habit of deploying randomly, impact or otherwise. As mentioned earlier, the units affected were mainly seen in humid climates. As the second largest supplier of automotive safety equipment in the world, Takata services virtually every major automaker, and so the repercussions of such a recall would be quite widespread.

Ford, Fiat, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Subaru were among the brands with vehicles that used Takata’s defective parts; if GM’s vehicles are added, it could mean that many of the previously recalled vehicles might be called back again, as the company continues to wade through its list of 30 million or so recalled vehicles.

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