A showdown is looming between U.S. safety regulators and a Japanese company that makes air bags linked to multiple deaths and injuries.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants Takata Corp. to recall millions of potentially faulty driver's side air bag inflators across the U.S. The air bags can explode with too much force, sending metal shrapnel into the passenger compartment. There have been at least 139 reported injuries reported and three deaths, including a Florida woman who was involved in a fatal car crash and injured so badly by her malfunctioning Takata airbag that police originally believed she was the victim of homicide.

But Takata insists that current recalls, issued only in high-humidity areas, mainly in the South, are enough. A broader recall isn't supported by the evidence, Takata says.

The safety agency said Tuesday that Takata must act or face legal action.

The showdown comes on the eve of a Senate hearing about the air bags. A Takata executive and a top agency official are scheduled to testify.



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