The continued expansion of the Takata airbag inflator recall has strained the capacity of the troubled manufacturer to provide replacement units. Additional manufacturers are providing replacement equipment, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has resisted calls for even more recalls in an effort to relieve pressure on the supply chain.
Dealerships, meanwhile, face the prospect of providing replacement airbags to consumers that might have to be replaced again in the future because of the growing scope of the recall effort.
And in March, Honda Motor announced it would compensate U.S. dealerships for depreciation costs of vehicles they can’t sell because of the airbag recall. Honda will also provide financial assistance to help offset floor planning costs incurred by the automaker’s stop-sales order on new and used vehicles from model years 2007 to 2015.
Some 29 million vehicles have been recalled because of the inflator problem. There are another 50 million vehicles in the U.S. that include Takata airbags that have not been recalled – but could be in the future.
The faulty airbag inflators have killed 10 people worldwide and injured another 139. In January, another 5 million vehicles were recalled following the 10th and most recent death, that of a South Carolina man.
Ten automakers hired engineering firm Orbital ATK to investigate the cause of the airbag failures. The company cited the use of ammonium nitrate (a propellant) without a moisture-absorbing desiccant, combined with faulty inflator assemblies and prolonged exposure to hot, humid weather as the causes of the failures. In certain weather conditions, increased moisture in the airbags can cause them to explode.
Newer Takata airbags include a drying agent to mitigate against the moisture problem.