WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co is to recall 3 million vehicles with potentially faulty driver-side Takata airbags, the U.S. auto safety regulator said on Tuesday, rejecting the offer from the second-largest U.S. automaker to avoid a recall.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it was rejecting petitions filed by Ford and Mazda Motor Corp in 2017 to avoid recalling vehicles with potentially dangerous inflators. The ruling will also require Mazda to recall and repair driver air bags in approximately 5,800 vehicles. The recalls will cover various vehicles from the 2006 to 2012 model years.
The defect, which in rare cases leads to the rupture of airbag inflators and the sending of potentially fatal metal fragments – especially after long-term exposure to high humidity – has caused the largest automotive recall in the world. US history of more than 67 million inflators. Globally, approximately 100 million inflators installed by 19 major car manufacturers have been recalled.
The NHTSA said that “the evidence clearly shows that these inflators pose a significant safety risk.”
Earlier this month, the auto safety agency said at least 17 million vehicles equipped with Takata air bags were not being repaired.
Takata inflators have killed at least 27 people worldwide and 18 in the United States, and more than 400 reported injuries,
Ford said on Tuesday the vehicles NHTSA ordered to be recalled had been subject to an earlier Takata recall for the passenger side airbag, but did not comment further.
Mazda did not immediately comment.
The recall will apply to various Ford Ranger, Fusion, Edge, Lincoln Zephyr / MKZ, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKX vehicles, as well as 2007–2009 model year Mazda B-series vehicles. Mazda vehicles were designed by Ford, built on the same platform, and used the same airbag inflators as the Ranger trucks.
The regulator said Ford must within 30 days “submit to NHTSA a proposed schedule for notifying vehicle owners and initiating an appeal.”
Two people have died in Takata airbag ruptures in previously recalled 2006 Ford Ranger vehicles, the most recent fatality being in 2017.
In November, the NHTSA said it was rejecting a petition filed by General Motors Co to avoid the recall of 5.9 million U.S. vehicles equipped with Takata air bags.
In November, the agency said GM had to recall 2007-2014 model year trucks and SUVs. GM estimated in securities filings that it would cost $ 1.2 billion if it were required to replace the airbag inflators it had sought to avoid repairing and said it would recall $ 7 million. vehicles around the world.
Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Richard Pullin and Leslie Adler