As many observers have expected, the Takata airbag crisis has continued to expand as automakers begin to add more and more vehicles to the nearly 34 million that were recalled late Friday when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that the airbag manufacturer had agreed a defect existed and expanded the scope of its recall.
Mazda, Mitsubishi and Subaru added more than 700,000 vehicles to the huge numbers recalled late Friday, according to Automotive News. In addition, the trade paper said that with the new numbers, more than 50 million vehicles have been recalled worldwide, making this recall, by far, and the largest in history. The 34 million vehicles recalled in the United States is the largest recall in the nation’s history, easily pushing last year’s 32 million vehicles recalled by General Motors into second place. In addition, the Takata recall was for a single issue while the GM figure was after 84 individual recalls, including nearly 3 million vehicles recalled for ignition problems.
The action by Mazda, Mitsubishi and Subaru brought last week’s total number of recalled vehicles to nearly 13 million. The newest recall affects vehicles in Japan and elsewhere.
Mazda recalled a total of 112,000 vehicles in Japan. The models included the Atenza sedan and Bongo van, as well as models manufactured for Nissan and Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi recalled a total of 100,000 vehicles that are specific to Japan and 412,000 vehicles sold in other areas while Subaru (technically known as Subaru/Fuji Heavy Industries recalled a total of 91,000 vehicles.
Last week’s action by the federal agency came as Takata, whose airbags have been under recall since 2008, finally agreed that a defect exists in their airbag inflators. After months of stonewalling, Takata succumbed to the pressure that NHTSA and others have been bringing to bear on them. Among the tactics used, NHTSA slapped a $14,000-a-day fine on the manufacturer that remained in effect until they acted. That penalty grew to more than $1 million before Takata acted late on Friday. While it dragged its feet, at least two more victims were claimed by exploding airbag inflators, one in Indonesia and the second in Texas. The number of injured has climbed to at least 100. Honda has felt this issue disproportionately because Takata had been its primary airbag supplier until recently. Indeed, the six fatalities attributed to the blasting airbags have been in Honda automobiles.