Ford says that it will fight lat­est Takata re­call

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - TOM KRISHER

Ford is fight­ing the lat­est ex­pan­sion of the Takata airbag in­fla­tor re­call.

Ear­lier this month, Takata filed doc­u­ments with the U.S. gov­ern­ment adding 2.7 mil­lion ve­hi­cles to the re­call from Ford, Nis­san and Mazda. All have in­fla­tors with a dry­ing agent that pre­vi­ously were thought to be safe.

But the Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion has said that Takata tests showed the in­fla­tor pro­pel­lant can de­grade and will pose a safety risk if the in­fla­tors aren’t re­placed.

Nis­san agreed to re­call about 515,000 Versa cars, but Ford and Mazda filed pe­ti­tions to avoid a re­call.

Takata in­fla­tors can ex­plode with too much force and spew shrap­nel into driv­ers and pas­sen­gers. As many as 18 peo­ple have died and more than 180 in­jured due to the prob­lem. The in­fla­tors have caused the largest au­to­mo­tive re­call in U.S. his­tory with 42 mil­lion ve­hi­cles and up to 69 mil­lion in­fla­tors be­ing called back for re­pairs.

Takata uses the chem­i­cal am­mo­nium ni­trate to in­flate airbags. But it can de­te­ri­o­rate when ex­posed to high air­borne hu­mid­ity and high tem­per­a­tures. Pre­vi­ously the com­pany be­lieved that a dry­ing agent called a des­ic­cant stopped the chem­i­cal from de­grad­ing.

Ford, which has more than two mil­lion ve­hi­cles in­volved in the lat­est re­call, says the pro­pel­lant has not de­te­ri­o­rated in any of its in­fla­tors taken from ve­hi­cles in the field. The com­pany says it will file a pe­ti­tion with NHTSA to fur­ther study its in­fla­tors. “At this point there is no data to sug­gest a re­call is needed,” the com­pany said.

Takata also iden­ti­fied about 6,000 Mazda B-series pickup trucks from 2007 through 2009 that also have the po­ten­tially faulty in­fla­tors. Mazda, which used to be owned by Ford, said its trucks are based on Ford’s Ranger, so it de­cided to fol­low Ford in seek­ing a re­call ex­emp­tion.

The in­fla­tors in ques­tion were pro­duced by Takata from 2005 to 2012. NHTSA says there have been no rup­tures in the real world or in test­ing, and that other Takata in­fla­tors with the dry­ing agent have not been re­called.

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