Marking the largest vehicle recall in U.S. history, automakers Honda, Nissan, Fiat-Chrysler, Toyota, BMW, Mazda, Ford, General Motors, Subaru, and Mitsubishi recently recalled nearly 34 million cars due to faulty Takata brand airbags.
To date, six deaths and more than 100 injuries have been tied to the defective airbag that can deploy violently and send shards of metal flying through a vehicle. Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, Takata refused to take blame for the defects, stating that any issues with the product were manufacturing error, not design flaws.
Testing by the manufacturer and automakers have not yielded a root cause of the defect, but did confirm that the inflators needed to deploy the airbag have been shown to degrade over time, leading to a compromise in the explosive chemical within.
Automakers have struggled to keep up with the demand for replacement products for all of the affected vehicles, a problem sure to be amplified by today’s announcement. The U.S. Department of Transportation has ensured that the defective inflators will be replaced as soon as possible, and those with the greatest risk will be addressed first.