Federal safety regulators are seeking to recall 52 million airbags

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New York

Federal safety regulators are seeking to recall 52 million airbags because of the threat they might explode, seriously injuring or even killing vehicle occupants.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said a rupture of these airbags has killed at least two people, one in the US and one in Canada, and caused at least seven serious injuries to US vehicles since 2009, most of them since 2016. Airbags manufactured by ARC and Delphi between 2000 and 2018. About 11 million airbags have been manufactured by Delphi under a licensing agreement with ARC.

It is included in vehicles made by General Motors, Ford, Stellanz, Tesla, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volkswagen. NHTSA has not released exact models that contain the air bags, saying this will be determined by manufacturers. Nor did it provide an estimate of the number of vehicles with airbags, since most vehicles have multiple airbags. The agency did not say how many cars may have more than one airbag it wants to recall. The number of airbags still in use is down from the 67 million estimated by NHTSA earlier this year.

GM recalled nearly 1 million vehicles in May because of the airbag issue, including the 2014-2017 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia.

So far, ARC has contested the agency’s findings.

“We do not agree with the new blanket request that NHTSA made when extensive field testing found no inherent defect,” an ARC spokesperson said in a statement in May.

But NHTSA is moving ahead with its efforts to enforce the subpoena, scheduling a hearing in October.

“The air bag inflators that detonate on command to deploy are manifestly defective, as they fail to adequately protect vehicle occupants, and by themselves pose an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death to vehicle occupants,” the agency’s statement announced on Tuesday read. session.

NHTSA and other federal safety agencies do not have the authority to order subpoenas on their own. Typically, manufacturers agree to agency-requested refunds after investigations. Often, manufacturers request product recalls without being asked after their own investigations discover problems.

It can be a lengthy and expensive process to enforce recalls on manufacturers that refuse to comply with recall requests.

The recall would be nearly as large as the 67 million airbags made by Takata Corporation that were recalled starting in 2014. The agency said those airbags have caused more than 400 injuries and 18 deaths in American vehicles. It also forced Takata into bankruptcy in 2017.

—CNN’s Ramisha Marouf contributed to this report

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