It appears that Toyota's renotification to owners of recalled vehicles from last year is just the tip of the iceberg for what could potentially be a much larger industry-wide recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is opening a preliminary evaluation investigation into roughly 1.1 million vehicles from Chrysler, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota and parts supplier Takata regarding faulty airbag inflators in several models.

NHTSA has received six reports – three directly, two from Takata and one from Toyota – of vehicles with ruptured airbag inflators from 2002-2006, which resulted in three injuries. So far, all six incidents have occurred in high humidity areas like Florida and Puerto Rico. According to Toyota's latest recall announcement, the inflators may have an improper propellant that could cause it to rupture in a crash and the bag to deploy abnormally.

This new investigation follows a previous recall from April 2013 of about 3.4 million vehicles worldwide for the airbag inflators from Takata. As Autoblog reported, Toyota jumpstarted the new situation when it found that the original list of serial numbers for the faulty part was incomplete and discovered more cars in need of replacement. Honda and Nissan told us that they were investigating whether further models would need called in again as well. Mazda told Autoblog: "Regarding the current Takata situation, we're working closely with NHTSA and investigating the situation, but nothing else to report at this time." Chrysler Group responded to us with the statement: "Chrysler Group engineers are conducting the appropriate analysis. The Company will cooperate fully with the National Highway Traffic Administration."

According to The Detroit News, the previous Takata inflator recall possibly stemmed from a manufacturing defect at the company's Washington state factory. The parts also could have been exposed to moisture at its facility in Mexico.

At this time, NHTSA's investigation is still in the early stages. It's still determining from the automakers and supplier how widespread the problem is and what models are involved. Scroll down to read the entire preliminary evaluation report.
Show full PR text
ODI RESUME
Investigation: PE 14-016
Date Opened: 06/11/2014
Investigator: Peter Ong
Reviewer: Scott Yon
Approver: Frank Borris
Subject: Air Bag Inflator Rupture

MANUFACTURER & PRODUCT INFORMATION
Manufacturer: Takata Corporation, Honda (American Honda Motor Co.), Nissan North America, Inc.,
Mazda Motor Corp., Chrysler Group LLC, Toyota Motor Corporation
Products: MY 2002-2006 models with air bag modules supplied by Takata
Population: 1,092,000 (Estimated)
Problem Description: During the course of 6 air bag inflations/deployments in FL and PR, the frontal driver or passenger air bag inflator did not function properly and ruptured.

FAILURE REPORT SUMMARY

ODI

Manufacturer

Total

Complaints:

3

TBD

TBD

Crashes/Fires:

0

TBD

TBD

Injury Incidents:

3

TBD

TBD

Number of Injuries:

3

TBD

TBD

Fatality Incidents:

0

TBD

TBD

Number of Fatalities:

0

TBD

TBD

Other*:

3

TBD

TBD


*Description of Other: 2 incidents provided by the air bag supplier and one provided by OEM

ACTION / SUMMARY INFORMATION
Action: Open this Preliminary Evaluation (PE)
Summary:
In August 2013, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) received a complaint of a driver's bag inflator rupture in a model year (MY) 2005 Honda Civic (VOQ 10537899). In March 2014, ODI received a VOQ alleging a passenger's bag rupture on a MY 2003 Toyota Corolla (VOQ 10568848). In April 2014, ODI received a third VOQ alleging a driver's bag rupture in a MY 2005 Mazda 6 (VOQ 1058224). There were three alleged injuries from these three incidents and all appeared to be minor in nature.

ODI discussed these incidents with TK Holdings, Inc. (Takata), the supplier of airbags involved and with the affected vehicle manufacturers. In the course of its review, Takata identified two other incidents, one involving a passenger bag rupture on a MY 2004 Nissan Sentra vehicle, and another a driver's bag rupture on a MY 2006 Dodge Charger vehicle. Toyota also provided another passenger's bag rupture on a MY 2002 Toyota Corolla. Of note, all six incidents occurred in a high absolute humidity climate (Florida and Puerto Rico.)

By way of background, several manufacturers in recent years have conducted safety recalls of vehicles for rupturing airbags. In calendar years 2008 through 2011, Honda conducted a series of recalls concerning driver's bag inflator ruptures on various MY 2001 through 2004 vehicles. In calendar year 2013, Honda, along with Toyota, BMW, Nissan and Mazda, initiated safety recalls to address passenger bag ruptures in certain MY 2001 through 2004 models. None of these recalls were regional in nature or attributable to atmospheric conditions in field use.

ODI is opening this investigation in order to collect all known facts from the supplier and the vehicle manufacturers that it believes may have manufactured vehicles equipped with inflators produced during the same period as those that have demonstrated rupture events in the field.

The ODI reports cited above can be reviewed online at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchNHTSAID under the following identification numbers: 10537899, 10568848, 10585224


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      AutoVido
      • 6 Months Ago
      This is why I'd NEVER buy a car with parts from the US of A, especially Washington State - those Mt. Rainier lovers. What, do they have Kennewick Man making the air-bags or something?! (Isn't that what we do here?)
        AutoVido
        • 6 Months Ago
        @AutoVido
        Really, 5 down votes? Because you don't think we make xenophobic comments here? Or because it is against the US? Or maybe just because it isn't funny...
      Losferatu
      • 6 Months Ago
      This is bound to blow up in somebody's face
      WindsWilling
      • 6 Months Ago
      Look at the parties involved.. the gov will fully pursue the punishments to the max. If this were GM, they'd give them a pat on the back and say "better luck next time guys".
      • 6 Months Ago
      [blocked]
      jebibudala
      • 6 Months Ago
      What's an airbag woe? Is that when it blows up in your face during autocross because it thought you were going to do a barrel roll?
      bofdem
      • 6 Months Ago
      Interesting that the image is of a BMW M-Sport steering wheel, yet they're not under investigation...
        • 6 Months Ago
        @bofdem
        [blocked]