Another GM airbag recall is coming. The automaker announced last week it has agreed to recall and repair the Takata airbag units in about 7 million of its full-size pickup trucks and SUVs.

Takata airbags have been under recall for the better part of the decade. The airbag inflator mechanisms in the recalled airbags can potentially deploy with deadly force and can seriously injure or kill vehicle occupants.

The latest GM airbag recall will bring the wider Takata airbag recall closer to an end. Defective Takata airbags were installed in vehicles made by GM and 18 other manufacturers, forcing a recall of at least 63 million vehicles in the U.S. – the largest auto safety recall in history. At least 40 million additional vehicles with the Takata airbags have been recalled outside the U.S.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has pushed GM to recall the remaining airbag units since 2016, but GM has resisted taking action. According to the Associated Press, the automaker petitioned NHTSA four times since 2016 to avoid the recall. On Monday, NHTSA finally ordered GM to recall the airbags.

GM said it consented to the recall “to maintain the trust and confidence of customers and regulators,” according to the AP.

The GM airbag recall encompasses the last of the unrecalled but potentially explosive Takata airbags in the U.S. Other Takata airbags that incorporate a desiccant to absorb moisture will not be included in the sprawling recall, but NHTSA says it will continue to monitor those airbags and act if they show any signs of malfunction.

The following GM vehicles are included in the latest recall. All of the vehicles are model-year 2007-2014:

  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups
  • Chevrolet Suburban
  • Chevrolet Tahoe
  • Chevrolet Avalanche
  • Cadillac Escalade
  • GMC Sierra 1500, 2500 and 3500,
  • GMC Yukon

GM maintains the Takata airbags included in the recall are safe because they have larger vents and steel end caps. NHTSA says its analyses showed the airbags could become problematic over time.

According to the AP, for its testing and analyses, the agency hired airbag chemical expert Harold Blomquist, who holds 25 airbag patents. He concluded that the Takata airbags in the GM vehicles were similar to the Takata inflators that had exploded. Tests on the airbags were “indicative of potential future rupture risk,” NHTSA said in documents, according to the AP. “These findings illustrate that GM’s inflators have a similar, if not identical, degradation continuum” to the airbags that have exploded in the past.

Takata airbag explosions have been linked to 17 deaths and about 300 injuries in the U.S. Worldwide, Takata airbags have been blamed for at least 26 deaths.

GM has 30 days to notify NHTSA of its plan to recall the airbag units, including when it will begin to notify drivers. The automaker expects the recall to cost about $1.2 billion, approximately one-third of its net 2020 income so far.

GM’s previous Takata airbag recalls have covered more than 786,000 vehicles. The automaker says that 75% (589,667) of those vehicles have been repaired.

Auto Products Liability

Chris Glover, managing attorney in our Atlanta office, has handled a number of claims related to defective airbags and other cases involving auto products liability. If you feel you have a claim involving a defective airbag of any type, our attorneys would like to talk to you. You may be entitled to compensation. If you or someone you know has been involved in a vehicle accident and suffered serious injuries you feel are related to an airbag that did not operate as it should – either not deploying, or exploding with too much force – contact us today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation.

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