Massive, 52-million-car airbag recalls may be coming soon

Takata airbags had to be recalled and replaced because they tended to erupt unexpectedly as humidity took its toll, due to engineering issues. The massive recall of ARC and Delphi airbags may are very different.

airbags
Airbags (not necessarily recalled models)

American suppliers ARC Automotive and Delphi Automotive made airbags which are unlikely to go off randomly, but may rupture in normal deployment, showering metal debris into the cabin at high speed which, NHTSA wrote, “poses an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death.” At least seven people have been hurt and one person has been killed from these airbags in the United States. The ruptures appear to come from the friction-welding process used to make the airbags.

The airbags were engineered by ARC, and were produced starting in 2000; Delphi licensed them from 2001 to 2004, limiting their liability, though they made 11 million airbags during that time; Delphi is now part of Autoliv, which apperas to be denying liability. ARC kept making them, adding an automated borescope inspection system in January 2018 which removed any airbags containing slag from sale to actual automakers.

The number of inflators produced which may have slag are 41 million from ARC (2000-January 2018) and 11 million from Delphi. This includes front hybrid, toroidal driver, and passenger airbags. They were used by BMW, FCA US, Ford, GM, Hyundai, Kia, Maserati, Mercedes, Porsche, Tesla, Toyota, and Volkswagen. Slag was involved in injuries or deaths in a 2002 Chrysler minivan, 2004 Kia Optima, 2010 Chevrolet Malibu, two 2015 Chevrolet Traverses, a 2016 Audio A3 e-Tron, a 2017 Traverse, a 2009 Hyundai Elanbra (made in Canada with an inflator made in China), and a 2015 Volkswagen Golf in Turkey (the inflator was made in Tennessee).

 


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