The Takata airbag recalls could cost the Japanese supplier $1 billion in settlements.
Takata has a notorious history when it comes to widespread recalls. In fact, it set a record when faulty airbags that were deploying too forcefully caused the supplier to recall some 34 million vehicles in the US a few years ago which is still ongoing. Unfortunately, history seems to be repeating itself here: a new fault is now affecting airbags in Honda and Ford vehicles, prompting another mass recall. Except this time, it's the passenger airbag that's at fault.
Earlier this week, Honda actioned a recall of 1.29 million vehicles after the faulty passenger airbags were discovered to also be deploying with too much force and shower the occupants with metal shrapnel. The recall affects the 2008-12 Accord, 2010-12 Crosstour and Insight, 2006-11 Civic, 2005-11 CR-V and Element, 2012 FCX Clarity, 2007-12 Fit, 2005-12 Pilot, and 2006-12 Ridgeline. Also included are certain 2005-06 Acura MDX, 2005-12 RL, 2009-12 TSX, 2011-12 TSX Wagon, and 2010-12 ZDX models. However, this amounts to "only" 772,000 vehicles when you factor in the fact that many of these have already been recalled to rectify the previous driver airbag fault.
Ford has also been forced to take action. Following recalls of the Ranger pickup last year for defective airbags, the manufacturer has issued a "planned expansion of previously recalled vehicles to new geographic regions" affecting 816,309 cars, including 654,695 in the US and federalized territories, and 161,174 in Canada. Included vehicles are the 2005-2009 and 2012 Ford Mustang, 2005-2006 GT, 2006-2009 and 2012 Fusion, 2007-2009 Ranger and Edge, 2006-2009 and 2012 Lincoln Zephyr and Lincoln MKZ, 2007-2009 MKX, and 2006-2009 Mercury Milan.
Ford says that owners will be contacted and an appointment will be offered at a dealership to replace the passenger frontal airbag inflator for free. No injuries or deaths have been reported to Ford, but the same can't be said for the driver airbag issue which has resulted in 16 deaths and 150 injuries. To make matters worse, it was discovered that Takata ignored concerns that its Japanese arm was manipulating test data. Court settlements are currently coming to a close, which could cost the company as much as $1 billion according to The Wall Street journal.