52 million air bag inflators made by auto suppliers ARC Automotive and Delphi Automotive need to be recalled, according to U.S. vehicle safety officials, because they might burst and launch hazardous metal fragments into the air.
A voluntary recall was initially requested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) in May, but ARC rejected the request. In a rare attempt to force a recall, the agency issued an initial ruling on Tuesday and scheduled a public meeting for October 5.
If the attempt to force a recall is successful, the callback would be one of the biggest ever. From 2000 until the beginning of 2018, 12 automakers, including General Motors, Ford, Stellantis, Tesla, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and VW, produced vehicles with the airbags that NHTSA is attempting to get recalled.
In May, ARC disagreed with NHTSA’s preliminary finding that a fault occurred. A request for comment on Tuesday wasn’t met with an immediate response from ARC.
According to NHTSA, ARC finished the installation of devices on the production lines for inflators in January 2018. These devices are meant to identify excesses of weld slag, a hardened result of welding, or other debris.
NHTSA’s Ongoing Quest for Airbag Safety
According to the EPA, there have been no problems with ARC inflators since the devices were installed. Weld slag had not been established as the primary factor in the ruptures, according to ARC.
According to the government, there have been seven confirmed airbag ruptures in American vehicles that it is working to have recalled, resulting in seven injuries and one fatality.
Through 2004 under a license deal with ARC, which produced the remaining 41 million inflators, Delphi Automotive, which Autoliv later bought, produced about 11 million of the inflators.
An inquiry for comment was not immediately answered by Autoliv. For more than 15 years, NHTSA has been investigating air bag inflator ruptures.
The largest vehicle safety recall in history affected more than 67 million Takata air bag inflators in the US and more than 100 million globally during the past ten years.
Since 2009, Takata air bag inflators that can rupture and spew metal shards inside automobiles and trucks have been linked to more than 30 deaths worldwide, including 26 U.S. deaths, and hundreds of injuries.
The most recent fatality involved a Takata passenger-side bag and occurred in May.