US to recall 67 million air bag inflators

WASHINGTON, May 12 (Reuters) – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has requested the recall of 67 million air bag inflators due to what it believes to be a safety flaw, but auto supplier ARC Automotive Inc has rejected the U.S. regulator’s request. Friday program.

Vehicle Safety Agency, there is an unreasonable risk of death or injury from inflatables.

Even with the increase in deformities, “ARC has not determined a deficiency warrants recall for this population,” NHTSA said in its request letter to the Tennessee-based agency. “Air bag inflators inject metal fragments into vehicle occupants, instead of properly inflating the attached air bag, creating an unreasonable risk of death and injury.”

General Motors ( GM.N ), Chrysler-parent Stellandis ( STLAM.MI ), BMW ( BMWG.DE ), Hyundai Motor ( 005380.KS ), Kia Corp ( 000270.KS ) and others have ARC air bag inflators in vehicles. GM on Friday agreed to recall nearly 1 million vehicles with ARC air bag inflators after a crash in March left a driver with facial injuries.

ARC rejected NHTSA’s tentative decision, saying it was based on seven field crashes in the United States and contained a flaw. NHTSA is asking ARC to prove to the negative that “the 67 million inflators in this population that were manufactured over the next 18 years were not defective.” The company said it continues to work with NHTSA and automakers to evaluate the crashes.

In 2016, NHTSA upgraded an inspection of more than 8 million air bag inflators manufactured by ARC, which has been investigating more than seven years since a driver was killed in a Hyundai vehicle in Canada.

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NHTSA initially opened an investigation in July 2015 after two injuries.

NHTSA as of January 2018, 67 million

Subject to driver and passenger frontal air bag inflators. Delphi, acquired by Autoliv ( ALV.N ), produced approx

11 million inflators manufactured the remaining inflators under a license agreement with ARC.

ARC noted that there have been several test programs of inflators scrapped or collected from other vehicles but not a single rupture occurred during these tests.

67 million inflators were produced for the US market on multiple production lines at various plants and used by 12 automakers on dozens of models. “None of these manufacturers have concluded that there is a systemic deficiency in this broad population,” the ARC said.

NHTSA in January 2018 completed the installation of devices on inflator production lines used to detect ARC, excessive weld slag or other debris. NHTSA said it was not aware of problems with ARC inflators manufactured since then. Weld slag has not been confirmed as the root cause of the ruptures, ARC said.

NHTSA has been investigating air bag inflator malfunctions for more than 15 years.

Over the past decade, more than 67 million Takata air bag inflators have been recalled in the United States, and more than 100 million worldwide, the largest auto safety recall in history.

More than 30 deaths worldwide — including 24 in the U.S. — and hundreds of injuries in vehicles from various automakers since 2009 have been linked to Takata air bag inflators, which explode and unleash shards of metal inside cars and trucks. The most recent fatality occurred in July 2022 in a 2010 Chrysler 300, one of three Stellandis fatalities in a seven-month period.

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David Shepherdson reports; Editing by Leslie Adler

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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