A Takata airbag that was removed from a 2001 BMW vehicle following a recall

90 million Takata airbags could be recalled in US

An additional 70 to 90 million Takata airbag inflators could be recalled over fears in the US that they may present a danger to drivers.

US auto safety regulators are reportedly considering the move which would triple the 29 million inflators that have already been recalled. They have so far been linked to nine deaths in the US.

Earlier this month, the Japanese car maker Honda announced it was recalling 5.7 million vehicles worldwide over safety fears related to the faulty airbags.

The airbags, which are manufactured by Takata, have defects that can cause them to explode with too much force which blows apart a metal cannister and hurls shrapnel into the vehicle.

As many as 120 million Takata inflators are thought to be installed in US vehicles that contain the same volatile chemical, ammonium nitrate, which causes the potentially fatal explosions.

The number of vehicles affected remains unclear because many have multiple inflators that are not always sourced from the same manufacturer.

Former managers have described ‘chronic’ quality failures at Takata's North American inflator plants, an assessment reflected in dozens of company emails and documents dating back to 2001.

Those problems, the former managers said, make it difficult for the company and regulators to pinpoint which inflators among tens of millions manufactured pose a danger.

"You have no way of knowing," one of the former managers said.

Takata has declined to comment about the possibility of the additional recalls but it is thought that if enacted it would cost the company billions of dollars and add years to the replacement process.

The company said in a statement that it is "cooperating fully with regulators and our automotive customers and continues to take aggressive action to advance vehicle safety."

In November, Takata reach an agreement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to pay a $70m (£50m) penalty as part of a settlement that included its commitment to stop making inflators that use ammonium nitrate by 2018. It also pledged to declare all remaining ammonium nitrate inflators defective by 2019 unless it can demonstrate they are safe.


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