NBC News Reports: Defective Takata Airbags in Cars Still Being Installed

The mission of the lawyers at Theodoros & Rooth is to work hard and work aggressively to protect you from harm due to the negligent actions of others.

Now, a product designed to keep you safe in your automobile, is proving to be potentially dangerous for millions of Americans.

Over the past few months, we have shared many updates from this case.  We wrote in early May that “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced plans to accelerate and further expand the Takata air bag inflator recall.”  NBC revealed  Tuesday night (6-1-16) that many of these defective Takata airbags are still being installed into new cars.

NBC reported that “Even as federal safety regulators expand the ongoing recall of defective Takata airbags, four major automakers continue to install some of the defective devices on their newest vehicles, according to a new Senate report.

A number of manufacturers also are using defective Takata inflators as replacements for older airbags in about 2.1 million recalled vehicles. Federal regulators have approved that move as a temporary measure due to a shortage of replacement parts using newer, safer designs.”

Despite this being the largest airbag recall in U.S. history and one that has already caused dozens of injuries and 13 deaths (including 10 in the United States), four automobile manufacturers acknowledge they are continuing to use non-desiccated Takata inflators in new products.  These makers are Fiat Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volkswagen, according to the report released on Tuesday (6-1-16) by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee.

Responding to the Senate report, Fiat Chrysler stated that, “they are not equipping any new vehicles with components that are currently subject to recall.”

Technically, that is correct according to NBC, but Fiat Chrysler is still using a Takata airbag that is not equipped with a desiccant, a chemical designed to absorb moisture and reduce the risk of a malfunction by one of the supplier’s ammonium nitrate inflators. NHTSA has indicated that it ultimately does plan to recall all such airbags by 2018, but does not necessarily consider them an immediate safety threat.

Both Toyota and Volkswagen say they are phasing out the use of Takata air bag inflators without desiccant in vehicles currently under production.

Senator Nelson stated further “What’s troubling here is that consumers are buying new cars not realizing they’re going to be recalled. These cars shouldn’t be sold until they’re fixed.”

What is equally alarming is that there are not nearly enough replacement bags.”  Takata, already in financial trouble, cannot produce them fast enough.  Some car makers are looking elsewhere for airbags but new companies have been slow to ramp up production.

According to the latest NHTSA figures, about 8.4 million Takata airbags have been replaced, but that covers only slightly more than 4.7 million vehicles, or roughly a quarter of those involved in the original recall.

But even among those that have been repaired, it turns out, many vehicles will have to be brought back in for additional fixes later. Some automakers, it turns out, are ripping out older Takata airbags and replacing them with newer inflators of the same design.

For more information on this airbag crisis, read our earlier articles here.  You can also read the latest at:  http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2016/05/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-takata-air-bag-recall/index.htm

If you have a concern about negligence involving any product or service that you assumed to be safe, Theodoros & Rooth wants to hear about it.   We will carefully review your case and take swift action if we believe you are a victim.  Our consultations are always free.