Takata company recalls 10M inflators, could be last of auto, airbag saga

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FILE – This June 25, 2017 file, photo shows TK Holdings Inc. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. Takata is recalling 10 million more front air bag inflators sold to 14 different automakers because they can explode with too much force and hurl shrapnel. The recall is the last one the bankrupt company agreed to in a 2015 settlement with U.S. safety regulators. It could bring to a close the largest series of recalls in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

DETROIT (AP) — Takata is recalling 10 million more front air bag inflators sold to 14 different automakers because they can explode with too much force and hurl shrapnel.

The recall is the last one the bankrupt company agreed to in a 2015 settlement with the U.S. safety regulators. It could bring to a close the largest series of recalls in U.S. history.

The 10 million inflators are part of the approximately 70 million in the U.S. that Takata was to recall as part of the agreement with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Vehicles made by Audi, BMW, Honda, Daimler Vans, Fiat Chrysler, Ferrari, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen are affected.

Automakers will determine what models are affected and launch their own recalls. Some already have made the announcements.

The recalled inflators were used to replace dangerous ones made by Takata until a permanent remedy could be developed.

Takata used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate air bags. The chemical can deteriorate over time when exposed to high heat and humidity and burn too fast, blowing apart a metal canister and hurling shrapnel.

Permanent replacements don’t use ammonium nitrate.

At least 25 people have been killed worldwide and hundreds injured by Takata inflators. About 100 million inflators are being recalled across the globe.

In paperwork posted Wednesday on the NHTSA website, Takata said the 10 million figure is an estimate and that many of the inflators were never installed in vehicles. The company said it doesn’t know how many vehicles were affected.

But the numbers are still huge. Subaru, for instance, on Wednesday issued recalls for nearly a half-million vehicles to replace Takata inflators that were used as interim fixes. The recalls cover vehicles from the 2003 through 2014 model years including certain Forester, Baja, Impreza, WRX, Legacy and Outback models. Also covered is the 2005 and 2006 Saab 9-2x made by Subaru for General Motors.

All of the Takata recalls are being phased in by the age of the vehicle and location. Vehicles registered farther south, where conditions are hot and humid, get first priority.

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