Takata Airbags: the scariest recall you’ve probably never heard of

Over 100 million vehicles worldwide could be fitted with faulty and potentially lethal airbags from Japanese firm Takata. That’s the horrifying reality behind one of the automotive industry’s largest ever product recalls. Despite the fault first being announced by the firm in 2013, just a fraction of the vehicles affected are believed to have had the issue addressed.

A faulty component within an affected Takata airbag can rupture during the deployment of the safety device, sending metal debris into the vehicle and creating a potentially life threatening situation. In fact, according to UK motor industry magazine The Assessor, the faulty bags have already been linked to 16 deaths and more than 100 serious injuries worldwide.

All of a sudden I feel a lot safer in my old, airbag-free 190e

In America, where many of the affected vehicles were sold, the NHTSA (that’s a branch of U.S Government’s department of transportation) responded to this issue by launching the largest safety recall in U.S history. Though it’s important to note that this issue isn’t isolated to America and affects vehicles from various territories.

Last year, the International Business Times reported that 1 million cars were being recalled for the fault in Britain alone. One example was BMW, which reportedly recalled more than 290,000 examples of its e46 3 series for faulty Takata airbags.

The good news is that the likes of the NHTSA and the UK’s DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) are continuing to works with manufacturers and dealers to rectify affected vehicles as quickly as possible, though the sheer scale and cost of this issue mean this is not going to be over quickly.

According to a follow up story by the BBC, Takata issued its third full-year financial loss, a net figure of 13.1bn yen ($120.5m, £83m) in March of 2016.

For further detail on this rather alarming story I recommend you head on over to the car and drive blog. I’d like to thank the writers over at The Assessor magazine, whose coverage on this particular story brought it to my own attention.

Main image credit: SRS Airbag by Hector Alejandro/Flickr used under Creative Commons 

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