Feds Probe 1.1 Million Vehicles From Five Automakers for Airbag Problems | Edmunds

Feds Probe 1.1 Million Vehicles From Five Automakers for Airbag Problems


For more information on the Takata airbag recall, click here. 10/27/14

Just the Facts:
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Wednesday opened an investigation into 1.1 million vehicles in the U.S. from five automakers for problems with airbags that may rupture during deployment.
  • The probe involves 2002-'06 models from Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Chrysler and Toyota with parts supplied by Takata.
  • NHTSA said it is opening the investigation "in order to collect all known facts from the supplier and the vehicle manufacturers that many have manufactured vehicles equipped with inflators produced during the same period as those that have demonstrated rupture events in the field.?

WASHINGTON The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Wednesday opened an investigation into 1.1 million vehicles in the U.S. from five automakers for problems with airbags that may rupture during deployment.

The probe involves 2002-'06 models from Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Chrysler and Toyota with parts supplied by Takata. The specific vehicles have not been spelled out.

NHTSA said it is opening the investigation "in order to collect all known facts from the supplier and the vehicle manufacturers that may have manufactured vehicles equipped with inflators produced during the same period as those that have demonstrated rupture events in the field.”

The investigation was triggered by six incidents involving 2002-'06 cars with airbag modules supplied by Takata.

The six include a complaint of a driver's airbag inflator rupture on a 2005 Honda Civic, a passenger's airbag rupture on a 2003 Toyota Corolla and a driver's airbag rupture on a 2005 Mazda 6.

"There were three alleged injuries from these three incidents and all appear to be minor in nature,” said NHTSA in its summary of the probe.

NHTSA said it "discussed these incidents with Takata, the supplier of the airbags involved and with the affected vehicle manufacturers. In the course of its review, Takta identified two other incidents, one involving a passenger airbag rupture on a 2004 Nissan Sentra and a driver's airbag rupture on a 2006 Dodge Charger. Toyota also provided another passenger's airbag rupture on a 2002 Corolla. Of note, all six incidents occurred in a high absolute humidity climate (in Florida and Puerto Rico).”

Several of the manufacturers have conducted safety recalls for rupturing airbags. They include a series of Honda recalls for various 2001-'04 vehicles. In 2013, Honda, Toyota, BMW, Nissan and Mazda initiated safety recalls to address passenger airbag ruptures in 2001-'04 models.

Edmunds contacted all involved automakers for comment.

"Honda is aware that the NHTSA has initiated a Preliminary Evaluation involving a variety of manufacturers with models equipped with airbag modules supplied by Takata," wrote Chris Martin, a Honda spokesman. "Honda will cooperate with the NHTSA through the investigation process and will continue our own internal review of the available information."

"We have been notified of an investigation by NHTSA and are in constant contact with them, as well as the supplier, to determine if and how many Nissan vehicles may be affected by this issue," wrote Dan Passe, a Nissan spokesman. "Nissan is committed to a high level of customer safety and satisfaction and stands ready to take prompt action as necessary.”

"We are cooperating with NHTSA on their investigation, but have nothing further to say at this time," wrote Jeremy Barnes, a Mazda spokesman.

Toyota on Wednesday announced it was expanding a 2013 recall of vehicles including the 2003-'04 Corolla to address airbag problems.

"We will continue to take steps to ensure the Takata airbag issue is thoroughly addressed in our vehicles, including through the recall we announced yesterday," wrote Cindy Knight, a Toyota spokeswoman. "We will cooperate with any NHTSA inquiry if asked."

Chrysler issued the following statement: "Chrysler Group engineers are conducting the appropriate analysis. The company will cooperate fully with the National Highway Traffic Administration."

Federal safety regulators have opened what is called a "preliminary evaluation” into airbag inflator rupture in the 1.1 million vehicles. Such an action sometimes precedes a vehicle recall.

Edmunds says: Consumers will have to wait for federal safety regulators to finish their investigation to find out if any action is necessary.

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