In one of the most sprawling auto recall attempts in recent memory, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is calling for 67 million airbag inflators to be recalled after it was found that they may “rupture and injure drivers and passengers”.
The inflators were made by ARC Automotive, Inc. and had been manufactured for use in the U.S. auto market during the 18-year period before January 2018, according to Engadget. They were then used by six different airbag manufacturers, the report says.
The NHTSA argued in a letter to ARC that there were 9 incidents where an inflator ruptured. “Air bag inflators that project metal fragments into vehicle occupants, rather than properly inflating the attached air bag, create an unreasonable risk of death and injury,” it wrote.
In response, ARC wrote back: “After nearly eight years of intensive scrutiny, none of [the manufacturers using its products] has identified a systemic or prevalent defect across this inflator population.”
ARC also says it tested 918 inflators that were taken from vehicles in salvage yards, wherein none of them exploded after being subjected to testing.
ARC has also argued that the NHTSA’s results came from “one-off” anomalies that had already been addressed using lot-specific recalls. As Engadget notes, companies like GM have already issued recalls for individual lots of vehicles for “suspect airbag inflator[s]”.
But the agency has told ARC that they should be prepared to furnish “additional analysis of the problem beyond ARC’s past presentations” if they want to make the case to abandon the recall.
Over the past 15 years, rupture related incidents have prompted millions of airbags to be recalled, with the most notable coming from Takata, who had 67 million airbags recalled in the U.S. and over 100 million recalled worldwide.