Thursday, 10 May 2018 10:27

Shortage of Parts Has Drivers Waiting for Recalled Takata Airbag Replacements

Written by Susan Hogan, Meredith Royster and Lance Ing, NBC4/WRC


The largest automotive recall in U.S. history has some drivers waiting years for replacements.

The Takata airbag recall involves 19 automakers and 46 million airbag inflators, and 16 million airbags still need to be replaced.

A local couple said they’ve been waiting almost two years for their replacement.

“They can't fix it?” Lynda Williams said. “I've got to ride in the backseat? That is ridiculous.”

Lynda and Carl Williams’ 2008 Ford Fusion was recalled in June 2016, but parts to replace the defective parts are unavailable.

The recall notice came with a warning not to sit in the front passenger seat because the airbag inflator could rupture, causing injuries or death.

“So knowing that, I said, 'Well, I guess somebody's going to have to ride in the back seat,’" Carl Williams said.

Ford said the "unprecedented volume and scope" of the Takata recalls created "unique replacement parts challenges" for all manufacturers and suppliers. It could be "months or even years" before parts will be available for certain vehicles.

Fourteen manufacturers still have not replaced all of the recalled airbags.

Lynda and Carl Williams said Ford did not offer them a loaner.


“If you don't have the parts, despite it being inexcusable, give your customer a rental car, period,” said David Friedman of Consumers Union.

Friedman, a former director of the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, said automakers and NHTSA have got to make it right.

“If there are car companies out there that are claiming they have the parts available, and they don’t, NHTSA should open up an investigation and should consider whether or not they should fine these companies to ensure that they are doing right by their customers,” he said.

In a statement, NHTSA said it is the most complex automotive recall in history and it needs to make sure parts are available to the highest risk vehicles first.

As for Lynda and Carl Williams, NHTSA said it initially "ordered Ford to have repair parts available by Sept. 30, 2017," but Ford asked for two extensions---the latest now delaying a fix for the 2008 Fusions until July.

“If that's the case, they should put me in something that's safe for me and my wife and anyone else who rides with us,” Carl Williams said. "They need to stand behind the product."

Ford said it may be able to provide loaner vehicles in certain circumstances.

Some vehicles are under a "don't drive" order and car manufacturers are providing loaners.

NHTSA said not to get the airbag disabled. Just because your car is recalled doesn't mean the airbag is defective.

We thank NBC4/WRC for reprint permission.