NHTSA counts 19.2 million vehicles for Takata recall

Been waiting for good news in the Takata airbag inflator fiasco? Well, this is about as good as it's probably going to get. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now estimates that there are now 23.4 million bad Takata airbag inflators in 19.2 million vehicles.

That new estimate, which is down from 34 million inflators in 30 million vehicles, is thanks to new data from automakers that claims some 4.4 million vehicles have already been repaired. The remaining difference between the airbag count and vehicle count is blamed on the roughly four million vehicles that have not one, but two faulty inflators.

Good news this may be, but there's still plenty of room for fluctuations, NHTSA told Automotive News. The recall could be expanded if the government regulator finds just cause. There's also concern that some of the new inflators may be faulty as well, forcing previously repaired vehicles back to the dealership.

Meanwhile, NHTSA and its research partner, Battell Memorial Institue, are one step closer to finding the root cause of the massive Takata recall, after finding that early tests mirrored the results reported by Takata. According to AN, signs continue to point to hot, humid weather as the biggest risk to the inflators. The company is also continuing its investigation Takata-built side airbags, after an inflator ruptured in a 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan earlier this summer.

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