Massive truck, SUV Takata airbag recall stuns General Motors

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By James Raia
The faulty Takata airbag catastrophe keeps getting worse. General Motors announced it will recall about seven million pickup trucks and SUVs worldwide to replace the potentially dangerous bag inflators made by the bankrupt Japanese company.

About six million of the vehicles scheduled for recall are located in the United States.

More than seven million Takata airbags on GM trucks and SUVs have been recalled.
More than seven million Takata airbags on GM trucks and SUVs have been recalled.

The recalled vehicles include: full-size pickup trucks and SUVs from the 2007 through 2014 model years, including the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups.

The Silverado is GM’s top-selling vehicle and the second-best-selling vehicle in the U.S. Also covered in the recall are the Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe and Avalanche, Cadillac Escalade, GMC Sierra 1500, 2500 and 3500, and the GMC Yukon.

It took the agency more than four years to arrive at its decision.

The automaker petitioned the agency four times since 2016 to avoid recalls, contending the airbag inflator canisters have been safe on the road and in testing.

But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) denied the petitions, saying the inflators can still explode.

The manufacturer reported it will not contest the decision, with the cost of the recall an estimated $1.2 billion. The total is about one-third of GM’s net income to date this year.

Owners complained to the NHTSA that the company was placing profits over safety.

Exploding Takata inflators caused the largest series of auto recalls in U.S. history, with at least 63 million inflators recalled. The U.S. government reports more than 11.1 million had not been fixed since September statistics were released. About 100 million inflators have been recalled worldwide.

Takata used volatile ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to fill air bags in a crash. But the chemical can deteriorate when exposed to heat and humidity, and they can explode with too much pressure, blowing apart a metal canister and spewing shrapnel.

The NHTSA said the recall means all Takata ammonium nitrate inflators in the U.S. will be recalled.

Earlier this year the agency decided against a recall of inflators with a moisture-absorbing chemical called a desiccant. NHTSA said it would monitor those inflators and take action if problems arise.

Drivers can check if their vehicles have been recalled via the website link: https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls and keying in their 17-digit vehicle identification number.

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Tim Moores
5 months ago

Isn’t there some simple way we can disable these things like disconnecting the power to them?

Rick Sorrenti
5 months ago

This could put GM into Chapter 11….since there is no more Takata to recover costs.

Really
5 months ago

You have to wonder too, when are the Auto Manufacturers gonna start repairing the other Recalls out in the world.

I currently have 2 recalls, 1 potentially dangerous one and a smaller item. Only been given preliminary notice of recall and NO definite date to take the vehicle to the dealer for repairs. And these notices are just about 2 years old!

NHTSA issued the notices, but that was it. Nothing further.

With what we pay for vehicles these days, you would think, this would be TOP priority! But, bottom line, it comes down to the almighty Buck and Shareholders profits.

DAVE TELENKO
5 months ago
Reply to  Really

Seems to be the same as our politicians, GREED, POWER & MONEY!
SNOOPY

Steve flippo
5 months ago

This is exactly the reason logical engineers argued against mandatory airbags back in the 80s and 90s. You cant make a consumer safety product of this type that will last the life of a car for a competitive price. But faceless government bureaucrats forced them on the public, raising the cost of every vehicle by thousands of dollars, and they are unreliable. Just wear a seatbelt.

Tommy Molnar
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve flippo

Totally agree Steve. And I don’t think GM is the only one using these. Wonder when my Ford will show up on one of these lists, although my truck is a 2016.

Nothing is 100% safe, especially with high tech stuff. Not much high tech with seat belts.

Impavid
5 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

There’s a website you can check to see if your vehicle has the Takata air bags. To Feb 2020 this list is at: http://www.caranddriver.com/news/a14499263/massive-takata-airbag-recall-everything-you-need-to-know-including-full-list-of-affected-vehicles/#list

Ron H
5 months ago
Reply to  Impavid

I just checked my ’13 Suburban and this site shows it has the Takata bag. However checking the NHTSA site mentioned in the article it shows “No Recalls Pending”. Not sure what to think now and will check with my dealer this week.

Tommy Molnar
5 months ago
Reply to  Impavid

Thanks Impavid. Looks like my truck is currently ok in the airbag department.