General Motors reluctantly will recall about seven million pickup trucks and SUVs equipped with Takata airbag inflators that could explode and send shrapnel flying.
The automaker petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration four times to avoid a vehicle recall since 2016, insisting that the vehicles are safe after conducting a series of tests. The agency denied the petitions and required the automakers to recall six million vehicles because a safety risk was still present.
The recall covers 2007–2014 pickup trucks and SUVs such as the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 2500 and 3500 models, and the Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe and Avalanche, the Cadillac Escalade, GMC Sierra 1500, 2500 and 3500, and the GMC Yukon models equipped with the Takata airbags.
The defects in Takata airbags are deadly serious. Equipped with volatile ammonium nitrate that can deteriorate in heat and blow apart metal, these airbags are associated with 27 deaths worldwide, including 18 deaths in the United States.
The agency said in a statement that it analyzed all available data on the Takata airbags before making its decision.
“Based on this information and information provided to the petition’s public docket, NHTSA concluded that the GM inflators in question are at risk of the same type of explosion after long-term exposure to high heat and humidity as other recalled Takata inflators,” the NHTSA said.
Complaints submitted to NHTSA suggest that consumers thought the company prioritized profits at the expense of consumer safety. As it is, the recall will cost roughly $1.2 billion, which is a third of GM’s net income this year.
The Takata airbag crisis is one of the biggest auto scandals in the past decade, prompting a large series of recalls of at least 63 million airbags in the United States and 100 million airbags globally.
The cost of the recalls caused Takata to declare bankruptcy.
Source: Detroit Free Press