WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Tuesday revised the number of U.S. vehicles covered by the recalls for defective Takata airbag inflators that can explode in a crash and spew metal fragments at vehicle occupants.
Federal safety regulators now say about 19.2 million vehicles are covered by the Takata recalls, far fewer than originally thought. Some airbags from multiple recalls were counted twice.
"NHTSA's current estimate of the number of defective inflators installed in U.S. vehicles is 23.4 million, somewhat lower than earlier estimates of more than 30 million," NHTSA said in a statement posted on its website.
It added: "This revised estimate is based on the most recent and accurate information provided by the affected automakers and includes approximately 4 million vehicles that have already been repaired."
About 4 million vehicles have defective inflators in both driver- and passenger-side airbags.
The defective Takata airbags have been linked to eight deaths and more than 100 injuries.
NHTSA said it plans to hold a public hearing this fall to coordinate the Takata recalls.
The hearing will focus on executing the recall plan, ensuring "that the greatest safety risks are addressed first and that every defective inflator is replaced with a safe one as soon as possible," the agency said.
The update also noted that NHTSA has completed its own initial testing of Takata inflators to check on the validity of test results from Takata and other sources.
"Preliminary results are broadly consistent with data from Takata, including Takata's findings on the risk associated with vehicles from high-humidity geographic areas," NHTSA said.
Edmunds says: The bottom line is that millions of vehicles still need to be repaired in this ongoing Takata recall. Consumers can find out if their vehicle is affected by the Takata recall by checking NHTSA's VIN Lookup Tool. Dealers can also tell owners whether replacement parts are available now.