New Takata Recalls Involve 5.1 Million Vehicles Up Through 2014 Model Year

WASHINGTON — New Takata recall documents posted on Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say another 5.1 million vehicles in the U.S. may have defective airbags, including some newer ones from the 2014 model year.

"The subject inflators include production years from start of production through the end of model year 2014 for vehicles sold in the United States," Takata said in its Part 573 safety recall report. "All products newer than MY14 remain under investigation and could be subject to recall at a later date."

Takata named the manufacturers, but, as of Wednesday morning, consumers still have few details on which vehicles are part of this latest round of recalls. NHTSA on Friday announced that more Takata recalls were imminent.

Ford announced on Tuesday that it is recalling nearly 400,000 2004-'06 Ford Ranger pickups as part of the new Takata recalls.

The new recalls are in two parts.

The first affects 1.2 million driver-side front airbags in certain Audi, Ford, Mazda, Sprinter and Volkswagen vehicles.

The second involves 3.9 million driver-side front airbags in certain Audi, BMW, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Saab, Toyota and Volkswagen vehicles.

The defective airbags could rupture in a crash, shooting metal fragments at vehicle occupants, "potentially resulting in serious injury or death," NHTSA said.

Previous Takata recalls have mainly involved older-model vehicles.

Takata said based on its investigation to date, the potential for such ruptures may occur after several years of exposure to persistent conditions of high absolute humidity, including in states along the Gulf Coast.

"The potential for rupture may also be influenced by other factors, including manufacturing variability," Takata said in the new documents.

No dates for consumer notification have been set in the new recalls, except for the Ranger recall, which is expected to begin on February 22.

"Takata will be working with vehicle manufacturers to identify into which vehicles the affected inflators were installed either as original or replacement equipment during service," NHTSA said. "As this work progresses, numerous vehicle recalls will likely be announced by the impacted vehicle manufacturers."

In a chronology filed with NHTSA, Takata said an 11th death worldwide may be linked to a defective Takata airbag. The death occurred last August in India in a 2007 Honda Civic following the rupture of an airbag inflator.

"There was a driver fatality in this event, but the cause of death has not yet been determined," Takata said. "The inflator was manufactured on October 20, 2006 at the Takata facility in Monclova, Mexico."

Finally, the law firm of Elrod Pope released information about the December 22 crash that killed the driver of a 2006 Ford Ranger when a Takata airbag ruptured.

Joel Knight, 52, of Kershaw County, South Carolina was fatally injured in that crash.

"Mr. Knight, who was wearing his seatbelt, struck a cow that had wandered into the road on S.C. 522 southeast of Lancaster and northeast of Health Springs," the statement said. "The airbag inflator rupture caused a piece of metal shrapnel to pierce his neck and spine, killing him in an otherwise moderate and survivable crash."

Edmunds says: The best advice at this point is for consumers to stay in touch with their dealers for recall updates or check NHTSA's VIN lookup tool on a regular basis to see if their vehicle is included in the Takata recalls.

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