Toronto, Ontario — General Motors (GM) will recall roughly seven million big pickup trucks and SUVs worldwide to replace a possible disastrous accident due to their faulty Takata ait bag inflators.
The Monday announcement came after the U.S. government told GM it had to recall six million of its vehicles in the U.S.
GM spokesperson said they would not fight the decision, even though the OEM believes the vehicles to be safe. Not to mention, it will cost the automaker an estimated 1.2 billion U.S., one-third of its net income so far this year.
In a 2019 petition to NHTSA, GM said the inflators were designed to their specifications and are safe, with no explosions even though nearly 67,000 airbags have deployed in the field. The inflators, it said, have larger vents and steel end caps to make them stronger.
GM had petitioned for the agency four times since 2016 to avoid recalls, contending their sit bag inflator canister have been safe on the road and in testing.
However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Monday, denied the petitions and said the inflators still run the risk of exploding. GM Owners complained to the NHTSA that GM was placing profits over safety.
“Although we are confident that the inflators in the GMT900 vehicles do not pose an unreasonable safety risk, continue to perform as designed in the field and will continue to perform as designed in line with the results of our accelerated aging studies, we will abide by NHTSA’s decision to maintain the trust and confidence of customers and regulators,” said GM spokesman—Dan Flores.
Exploding Takata inflators caused the largest series of auto recalls in U.S. history, with at least 63 inflators recalled. The U.S. government says that as of September more than 11.1 million had not been fixed. About 100 million inflators have been recalled worldwide.
The Takata inflators took the lives of 27 people worldwide.
Takata used volatile ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to fill airbags in a crash. But the chemical can deteriorate when exposed to heat and humidity, and they can explore with too much pressure, blowing apart a metal canister and spewing shrapnel.
Twenty-seven people have been killed worldwide by the exploding inflators, including 18 in the U.S.
Monday’s decision by NHTSA is a huge step towards drawing the airbag saga to a close. It will mean that all Takata ammonium nitrate inflators in the U.S will be recalled. NHTSA said it would monitor those inflators a recall of inflators with a moisture-absorbing chemical called desiccants. NHTSA said it would monitor those inflators and act if problems arise.
GM is expected to recall full-sized 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. And covered are the Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe, Avalanche, the 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, which comes toward the end of U.S. President Donald Trump’s four-year term.
“Based on this information and information provided to the petition’s public docket, NHTSA concluded that the GM inflators in question are at risk of the same type of explosion after long-term exposure to high heat and humidity as other recalled Takata inflators,” the agency said.
Takata has 30 days to give NHTSA a proposed schedule for notifying vehicle owners and starting the recalls, the statement said.
GM said that although they believe a recall isn’t warranted based on the factual scientific records, it will abide by the NHTSA decision.
But Takata declared the GM front passenger inflators defective under a 2015 agreement with the government.
In its petition, GM said that Northrop Grumman tested 4,270 inflators by artificially exposing them to added humidity and temperature cycling, and there were no explosions or abnormal deployments.
However, NHTSA hired airbag chemical expert Harold Blomquist, who holds 25 airbag patents, to review the data, and he concluded that the GM airbags were similar to other Takata inflators that had exploded.