Automotive parts maker Takata is having a rough year with millions of vehicles equipped with its airbag inflators being recalled. However, it looks like there might still be problems with the company's quality control, if a new recall by Infiniti is any indication.
The Japanese luxury brand is recalling 1,912 total units of the 2013 Infiniti QX56 and 2014 QX80 in North America because of a manufacturing flaw with their Takata-supplied inflators for the driver's side front airbag. Of those, 1,848 are in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Specifically, the outer baffle could be the wrong component and cause too much pressure to build up inside. According to documents submitted to NHTSA, it's possible in a crash for the part to rupture spraying metal shrapnel at occupants. At this time, Infiniti has not had any reports of this actually happening to drivers.
While this problem sounds nearly identical to the issue affecting millions of earlier vehicles, it must be noted that this is a different fault. According to the notice being sent to dealers on NHTSA's website: "This particular Voluntary Safety Recall Campaign is unrelated to two earlier campaigns that involved Takata passenger front air bag inflators on some older model Infiniti vehicles. This issue involves a much newer inflator and is a different, more isolated, Takata quality control issue."
Unfortunately, the parts to fix the vehicles aren't yet ready. According to Infiniti, it should be four or five weeks from when it submitted this recall to NHTSA on October 23 before vehicles can be repaired. According to the letter to dealers, concerned owners can ask for a loaner vehicle in the meantime.
This latest campaign comes at the worst possible time for Takata. According to Reuters, it's already having trouble supplying replacement parts for its other inflator recall. NHTSA is also asking automakers to keep testing the parts for faults, and if more problems are found, they should expand the campaigns even further.
According to Automotive News, NHTSA is sending 36 questions to Takata that it must answer by December 1 or face a fine of up to $35 million. It includes requests for documents pertaining to the recalls, a report of every death or injury and the company's production capacity to build inflators. The agency did something similar with GM's ignition switch recall earlier this year. Scroll down to read Infiniti's statement on the recall and NHTSA's report.