Ford Motor Co. has confirmed a second death in an older pickup truck caused by a defective Takata airbag inflator. The automaker urged 2,900 owners in North America to stop driving immediately until they can get replacement parts. Ford said it confirmed in late December that a July 2017 crash death in West Virginia in a 2006 Ford Ranger was caused by a defective Takata inflator. It previously reported a similar death in South Carolina that occurred in December 2015.
Ford said both Takata deaths occurred with inflators built on the same day installed in 2006 Ranger pickups. As we have reported, there are at least 21 deaths worldwide linked to the defective Takata inflators that can rupture and send deadly metal fragments into the driver’s body. The faulty inflators have led to the largest automotive recall in history. The other 19 deaths have occurred in Honda Motor Co. vehicles, most of which were in the United States.
Ford issued a new recall for automobiles that had been previously recalled in 2016. Of those 391,000 2004-2006 Ranger vehicles, the new recall announced on Jan. 9 affects 2,900 vehicles. These include 2,700 in the United States and nearly 200 in Canada. The new recall will allow for identification of the 2,900 owners in the highest risk pool.
A Mazda Motor Corp. spokeswoman said on Jan. 11 the company would conduct a similar recall and stop-drive warning for some 2006 Mazda B-series trucks, which were built by Ford and are similar to the Ranger. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urged owners to heed Ford’s warning. NHTSA spokeswoman Karen Aldana said: “It is extremely important that all high-risk air bags are tracked down and replaced immediately.” Ford said it would pay to have vehicles towed to dealerships or send mobile repair teams to owners’ homes and provide free loaners if needed.
In June Takata said that it has recalled, or expected to recall, about 125 million vehicles worldwide by 2019, including more than 60 million in the United States. Some 19 automakers worldwide are impacted.
As we have previously stated in prior issues, Takata inflators can explode with excessive force, unleashing metal shrapnel inside cars and trucks, and have injured more than 200. The defect led Takata to file for bankruptcy protection in June. Chinese-owned supplier Key Safety Systems Inc. has purchased Takata’s viable assets out of bankruptcy court.
In November, NHTSA rejected a petition from Ford to delay recalling 3 million vehicles with potentially defective airbag inflators to conduct additional testing. In June 2016, NHTSA warned airbag inflators on more than 300,000 unrepaired recalled 2001-2003 model year Honda vehicles showed a substantial risk of rupturing, and urged owners to stop driving them until getting them fixed. NHTSA said they have as high as a 50 percent chance of a rupture in a crash.
Source: Automotive News