Explosions of airbags by Japanese manufacturer Takata have reportedly killed at least four people

US senators call for action after further airbag recalls

US senators have called for a nationwide recall of all vehicles equipped with potentially dangerous Takata airbags after Nissan ordered a further 250,000 vehicles back to workshops.

The recall is the latest in a series that started in 2008 prompted by multiple incidents when passenger-side airbags exploded and shot fragments of metal from their casing on to passengers. Four people have reportedly been killed by the exploding airbags.

In the latest action, Nissan has summoned back to the factories its Micra and Cube vehicles sold in Europe, Japan and China.

According to a company spokesperson, 104,905 of the affected vehicles are in Japan and were manufactured between 2008 and 2012. A further 30,000 cars have been recalled in Europe and 11,000 in China.

The potentially faulty airbags made by Japanese manufacturer Takata feature in millions of vehicles from ten major global car makers. Since 2008 16 million vehicles have been recalled globally, with BMW, Toyota, Honda and Nissan all bringing back hundreds of thousands of cars for inspections in the last year.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated there may be up to 7.8 million vehicles in the US possibly equipped with the lethal airbags.

"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urges owners of certain Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors vehicles to act immediately on recall notices to replace defective Takata airbags," NHTSA said in a statement.

The latest development provoked two US senators to call for the regulators to order a nationwide recall of all possibly affected vehicles.

In the US most of the recalls focus on cars registered in states with a hot and humid climate, which is believed to exacerbate the problem.

However, Democratic US senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Edward Markey of Massachusetts urged all cars to be recalled immediately "regardless of where the car is registered".

Takata said previously improper procedures at factories of its suppliers in Washington, USA, and Monclova, Mexico, are to blame for the defect. The factories were said to improperly handle volatile ammonium nitrate, used by Takata to inflate the airbags. The explosive material was exposed to too much moisture, leading to the airbags inflating with too much force and tearing its casing to pieces.

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