The US may soon recall new substandard vehicles. In a document released Friday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the U.S. federal agency responsible for road safety, ordered the recall of 67 million airbag systems due to a defect that could cause drama for motorists.
In its press release, the company identified nine injuries, including two deaths, since 2009 as a result of this flawed system. Chrysler, Stellandis, BMW, Hyundai and Kia are among the affected manufacturers, with General Motors already announcing on Friday that, on its own initiative, it is recalling less than one million vehicles manufactured between 2014 and 2017.
In the officers’ viewfinder is automotive supplier ARC Automotive. The Knoxville, Tennessee-based designer of the airbags that manufactures the systems involved indicated Friday that it rejected NHTSA’s findings. The company, which has been cooperating with the investigation since 2015, says it considers it “premature” to organize a mass recall of vehicles and maintains that the federal agency does not have the authority to force it.
Remembering the Takada case
As for ARC Automotive, it didn’t suffer the same fate as Takata. For years, this Japanese company sold faulty airbag systems. The gas used during their design can, in certain climates, cause premature explosions and projections of metal fragments into the passenger compartment.
According to NHTSA, Takata airbags have caused 25 deaths and more than 400 injuries in the United States. Despite the historical recall of 100 million vehicles from about 20 manufacturers since 2001, the agency estimates that 8 million vehicles remain on American roads today. The Japanese company never recovered from the scandal and was liquidated in 2017.
Unlike Takata airbags, the problem with the ARC products does not come from the gas being used but from a welding defect. Different causes but same effects: Balloons can throw metal fragments when they are inflated. According to NHTSA, systems built by ARC for eighteen years have been affected. A decision the company says it “strongly disagrees with.” If the dispute persists, the case will be resolved in court.
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