Tuesday, December 23, 2014

BMW complies with NHSTA demand to recall Takata air bags nationwide.

ABC World News (12/22, story 5, 0:35, Muir, 5.84M) reports on the “massive” air bag recall Monday night where BMW agreed to NHSTA demands to replace Takata’s driver’s side air bags. ABC says BMW is the “last major car maker to comply,” recalling 140,000 vehicles made between 2004 and 2006. BMW claims no problems with its vehicles have been reported, although at least five deaths are blamed on Takata air bags. While Takata has argues there is “no scientific reason to expand the recall nationally,” ABC estimates 15 million airbags have been recalled in the US.
        The New York Times (12/23, Tabuchi, Subscription Publication, 9.9M) explains how the NHTSA demanded last month that Takata and its automakers recall Takata air bags, responding to pressure from lawmakers who questioned the previously geographically-limited recall. Initially, information showed that the airbags were at risk in humid areas, as Takata asserted moisture destabilized the chemical propellant that inflated its airbags. Resultantly, BMW previously limited its recall to about 11,700 cars in Florida, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. NHSTA Deputy Administrator David J. Friedman is cited to say that the automakers that had made regional recalls for driver-side airbags now had extended their recalls nationwide, and he is reviewing BMW’s recall filings to ensure the action covered all affected models and years.
        The AP (12/22) describes how the Takata air bags “explode with too much force and spew shrapnel at drivers and passengers,” and specifies that Takata counters the allegations by saying they “tested more than 1,000 air bag inflators from other regions without a single failure.” According to this article, BMW has recalled 574,000 cars in the US earlier this year. AP reports it is unknown whether Takata or the automakers will pay to replace the air bags. Altogether AP indicates 10 automakers have Takata air bags, and that there are about 30 million vehicles with the air bags in the US.
        Cars (12/22, Mays, 730K) details the models of cars known to carry the Takata driver’s side air bag, and reports that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has also recently recalled their models with Takata air bags. According to the article, FCA calls the latest move a “field action,” not a recall, “because only defects compel recalls, and there is no established defect.”

        Reuters (12/22, 4:56 p.m. ET, Woodall), the Automotive News (12/22, 3:32 p.m. ET, Lutz, 181K), and Bloomberg News (12/22, 4:16 p.m. ET, Drajem, 1.94M) provide similar coverage. 

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