U.S. Regulators Say 52 Million ARC Airbag Inflators Should Be Recalled
Written by Sebastien Bell, CarScoops
Published Sept. 7, 2023
American regulators announced Sept. 6 their initial finding that vehicles equipped with 52 million airbags made by ARC and Delphi should be recalled. The decision will be followed by a public meeting where a final decision on a recall will be reached.
The recall relates to vehicles equipped with ARC-designed airbags produced between 2000 and 2018. Seven injuries, among them one fatality, relating to an alleged manufacturing defect have been recorded in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The fault occurs when the airbags expand, which can cause excess welding slag to be blown off the inflator and into vehicle occupants, increasing the risk of grievous injury. NHTSA recommended a recall earlier this year, but ARC declined, claiming the incidents were so infrequent they do not “support a finding that a systemic and prevalent defect exists.”
NHTSA countered it has precedent for calling such a recall, thanks to the Takata airbag incident. It added “airbag inflators that rupture when commanded to deploy are plainly defective, as they both fail to protect vehicle occupants as they should, and, themselves, pose an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death.”
Despite ARC’s resistance to a recall, the airbags it and Delphi, under license, made have already been recalled by at least four automakers. General Motors was among them, in May agreeing to fix nearly 1 million vehicles because of their use of the airbag, following an accident in March that led to facial injuries for the driver.
In addition to GM, another 11 automakers used the airbags in their vehicles, including Ford, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Porsche, Stellantis, Toyota and Volkswagen. Although it previously estimated there were 67 million airbags to recall, NHTSA said it now believes some automakers overreported their numbers, and just 52 million airbags are in the field.
To determine if they should be recalled, a public hearing will be held Oct. 5. There, ARC and other interested parties will have an opportunity to present their cases, after which NHTSA will decide whether or not to compel the manufacturer to file a notice of the safety defect, which will lead automakers that used the part to recall subject vehicles.