July 12 (UPI) — Takata has recalled 2.7 million airbags, joining 42 million affected vehicles in the largest safety notice ever in the automobile industry, because of a new hazard.
The latest recalls announced Tuesday involve Ford, Nissan and Mazda models from 2005 to 20012 — ones the Japanese manufacturer originally thought were safe.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Takata is “taking this action out of an abundance of caution” though it has received no reports of any field ruptures and has not experienced any as a result of the field evaluation program.
The latest recall for the first time involves airbags that use calcium sulfate as a drying agent. The inflater can combust in an “over-aggressive” manner, potentially rupturing and causing harm, according to a filing Takata submitted to the highway safety administration.
The first defective devices were recalled by Honda in 2008. More than 70 million inflators have been recalled — sometimes involving the same vehicle more than once.
At least 17 deaths worldwide, including 12 in the United States, have been linked to Takata inflaters. On Monday, Honda said a person in Florida died last summer after one ruptured in a parked 2001 Accord during an unspecified repair with a hammer.
The propellant, which contains ammonium nitrate, can degrade because of exposure to moisture and temperature fluctuations. The inflators can explode with too much force, spewing shrapnel.
On June 26, it announced it was filing for bankruptcy protection in Japan and the United States, and selling its assets. It has established a $850 million fund to refund costs of air bag recalls and replacement costs incurred by affected auto manufacturers.
Earlier in January, Takata pleaded guilty to criminal charges and agreed to pay a $1 billion fine related to its faulty airbag inflater systems.
In the latest recall are 515,000 Nissan Versa subcompact hatchback and sedans from the 2007 through 2012 model years. Mazda said its recall covers about 6,000 B-Series trucks from 2007 through 2009.
Ford has not announced models of the 2.2 million vehicles recalled and has five days to respond to the Takata filing.