Takata to comply with NHTSA demand for national airbag recall

The Takata airbag recall is about to get a lot bigger, as the Japanese supplier is reportedly preparing to comply with an order by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to expand its region-specific recall to a nationwide campaign. According to Reuters, that will add millions of airbags to the disturbingly large supply of faulty units the company has already recalled.

Reuters is citing Tokyo's Nikkei, which claims the company was in the midst preparing to expand its "investigative" recall. A company spokesman told the news service, though, that a final decision hasn't been made and that there hasn't been a board meeting over the matter.

The expected move would serve as Takata's response to a NHTSA ultimatum that was issued last week. If the company doesn't expand to a nationwide recall by today, December 2, Uncle Sam can issue fines of $7,000 per recalled vehicle and force an increase in the scope of repair work.

Takata's airbag woes are currently limited to hot and humid areas, and involve 4.1 million vehicles. Reuters reports the company has fought a nationwide recall, arguing that such an expansion would divert replacement parts from harder-hit regions. There's likely more to it than that, though, as the Japanese government has said it would push for a recall in the supplier's home country if it complies with US requests. That could add 200,000 units to the 2.6 million JDM vehicles Takata has already recalled.

Takata has recalled over 16 million vehicles over the past few years due to airbag issues, Reuters reports, with five deaths attributed to faulty inflators that can spew shrapnel upon deployment.

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