Over 15 Million Engines and Transmissions
the automotive world and beyond is buzzing about the massive airbag recall covering many millions of vehicles in the u.s. from nearly two dozen brands. here’s what you need to know about the problem; which vehicles may have the defective, shrapnel-shooting inflator parts from japanese supplier takata; and what to do if your vehicle is one of them.
1/18/2018, 1:00 p.m.: in addition to toyota and ford, more automakers have released recall information for takata’s latest expansion of front-passenger airbag inflators announced on january 8. the additions below include vehicles that have already been recalled for driver’s-side inflators. owners will be contacted to schedule repairs. details here.
2/12/2018, 12:30 p.m.: ford has greatly expanded its recall of the 2006 ranger and is now advising owners of 30,603 u.s.-market vehicles to immediately stop driving them. the vehicles in question had already been affected by this far-reaching recall of takata-supplied airbag inflators, but they’re now considered to have “a higher risk of rupturing in the event of a crash than other recalled takata inflators.” the affected vehicles were built at ford’s twin cities assembly plant between august 5, 2005, and december 15, 2005. last month, ford made a similar pronouncement about 2712 rangers from the 2006 model year. in total, this recall (ford reference number 18s02) now affects 36,330 2006 rangers in the u.s. and canada.
* click here or scroll to bottom for full list of affected vehicles *
* click here or scroll down for latest updates *
the issue involves defective inflator and propellent devices that may deploy improperly in the event of a crash, shooting metal fragments into vehicle occupants. approximately 42 million vehicles are potentially affected in the united states, and at least 7 million have been recalled worldwide. (update 9/28/2016: affected-vehicle numbers, along with improper-deployment figures, continue to grow, as detailed in the updates below.)
initially, only six makes were involved when takata announced the fault in april 2013, but a toyota recall in june this year—along with new admissions from takata that it had little clue as to which cars used its defective inflators, or even what the root cause was—prompted more automakers to issue identical recalls. in july, nhtsa forced additional regional recalls in high-humidity areas including florida, hawaii, and the u.s. virgin islands to gather removed parts and send them to takata for review.
another major recall issued on october 20 expanded the affected vehicles across several brands. for its part, toyota said it would begin to replace defective passenger-side inflators starting october 25; if parts are unavailable, however, it has advised its dealers to disable the airbags and affix “do not sit here” messages to the dashboard.
while toyota says there have been no related injuries or deaths involving its vehicles, a new york times report in september found a total of at least 139 reported injuries across all automakers. in particular, there have been at least two deaths and 30 injuries in honda vehicles (update 12/12/2016: these figures are now verified as 11 deaths and 184 injuries in the u.s., as detailed in the updates below). according to the times, honda and takata allegedly have known about the faulty inflators since 2004 but failed to notify nhtsa in previous recall filings (which began in 2008) that the affected airbags had actually ruptured or were linked to injuries and deaths.
takata first said that propellant chemicals were mishandled and improperly stored during assembly, which supposedly caused the metal airbag inflators to burst open due to excessive pressure inside. in july, the company blamed humid weather and spurred additional recalls.
according to documents reviewed by reuters, takata says that rust, bad welds, and even chewing gum dropped into at least one inflator are also at fault. the same documents show that in 2002, takata’s plant in mexico allowed a defect rate that was “six to eight times above” acceptable limits, or roughly 60 to 80 defective parts for every 1 million airbag inflators shipped. the company’s study has yet to reach a final conclusion and report the findings to nhtsa.
update 11/7/2014, 9:44 a.m.: the new york times has published a report suggesting that takata knew about the airbag issues in 2004, conducting secret tests off work hours to verify the problem. the results confirmed major issues with the inflators, and engineers quickly began researching a solution. but instead of notifying federal safety regulators and moving forward with fixes, takata executives ordered its engineers to destroy the data and dispose of the physical evidence. this occurred a full four years before takata publicly acknowledged the problem.
update 11/7/2014, 5:29 p.m.: two u.s. senators have now called for the department of justice to open a criminal investigation on this matter. takata has stated that “the allegations contained in the [new york times] article are fundamentally inaccurate.” the company went on to state that it “takes very seriously the accusations made in this article and we are cooperating and participating fully with the government investigation now underway.”
read more about these developments on this c/d page.
update 11/13/2014, 11:10 a.m.: takata has released a more formal statement saying that the allegations made in last week’s new york times article “are fundamentally inaccurate” and that it “unfairly impugned the integrity of takata and its employees.” the company says (in this pdf) that there were no tests of “scrapyard airbag inflators” in 2004, that after-hours tests in 2004 “were not ‘secret tests’ . . . [but] were done at the request of nhtsa to address a cushion-tearing issue unrelated to inflator rupturing,” and that it “did not suppress any test results showing cracking or rupturing in the inflators,” whether to automakers such as honda or to nhtsa.
for its story about takata’s statement, the times spoke again with one of its two sources for the november 6 article. that anonymous person is quoted as saying: “what takata says is not true . . . they are trying to switch things around.”
on november 12, we reported about a change in takata’s chemical makeup of its airbag propellant, which the company says is unrelated to the ongoing recall situation.
update 11/18/2014, 6:10 p.m.: in light of a recent airbag failure in a 2007 ford mustang in north carolina—which was not part of the original “high-humidity areas” takata recall—the u.s. national highway traffic safety administration is calling for a nationwide recall of cars equipped with the defective takata driver’s-side airbags.
update 11/20/2014, 5:35 p.m.: automakers, officials from takata, and motorists injured by defective airbags met for a hearing with congress. nhtsa was accused of not responding quickly enough to the takata airbag situation, and automakers also took heat for being slow with fixes. as of now, the recalls remain regional, but it seems only a matter of time before they’re blanketed nationwide.
update 11/26/2014, 1:00 p.m.: the u.s. national highway traffic safety administration has formally demanded that takata push through a nationwide recall of cars equipped with the suspect driver’s-side airbags. also, officials in japan are calling for a recall expansion, after an airbag from an unspecified car not covered by previous recalls ruptured in testing.
update 12/2/2014, 5:45 p.m.: toyota and honda have released similar statements urging for an “industry-wide joint initiative to independently test takata airbag inflators.” meanwhile, takata’s chairman stated today that he’ll create a “quality assurance panel” to scrutinize the company’s production procedures. takata and nhtsa officials today made statements before the u.s. house of representatives subcommittee on commerce, manufacturing, and trade. nhtsa is still pushing for a nationwide expansion of the still-regional airbag recall—but for defective driver’s-side airbags only; the agency says a coast-to-coast recall on passenger-side airbags isn’t necessary. such a large-scale recall, many say, would squeeze the limited supply of replacement parts in the most at-risk (read: humid) regions of the country.
update 12/3/2014, 6:50 p.m.: takata executives, as well as those from nhtsa and several automakers, again sat before congress, discussing how this nightmare situation went unaddressed for so long, how it can be fixed promptly and properly, and how it will be prevented from happening again. honda is expanding its recall nationwide, and takata’s internal testing has revealed high failure rates.
chrysler’s recall update adds the passenger-side airbags of roughly 149,000 2003 ram pickups (1500, 2500, and 3500), which were already part of a driver’s-side airbag recall. the recall remains regional, encompassing trucks “sold or ever registered in alabama, florida, georgia, hawaii, louisiana, mississippi, texas and the u.s. territories of american samoa, guam, puerto rico, saipan, and the virgin islands.” chrysler says it is unaware of any accidents or injuries related to these airbag inflators and that no failures have occurred in laboratory tests. nhtsa has already stated is dissatisfaction with chrysler’s move: “chrysler’s latest recall is insufficient, doesn’t meet our demands, and fails to include all inflators covered by takata’s defect information report.”
ford’s expanded recall is very similar to chrysler’s, adding passenger-side airbags to the repair list of about 13,000 vehicles (2004–2005 rangers and 2005–2006 gts) already involved in the regional takata recalls. ford is even more selective with the targeted locations: it covers vehicles “originally sold, or ever registered, in florida, hawaii, puerto rico, and the u.s. virgin islands. it adds certain zip codes with high absolute humidity conditions in georgia, alabama, mississippi, louisiana, texas, guam, saipan, and american samoa.”
toyota has recalled some 190,000 vehicles in china and japan, many of them similar to the company’s u.s.-market vehicles listed below.
update 12/5/2014, 3:15 p.m.: honda has announced the addition of 3 million vehicles to its list of affected cars—and also that its recall is now nationwide. read more on this development in this story.
update 12/18/2014, 10:50 a.m.: ford has expanded the breadth of its recall for takata driver’s-side airbags, adding nearly 450,000 vehicles—all mustangs and gts—to its list. (rangers are part of a separate action.) mazda also expanded its recall to be nationwide for 2004–2008 mazda 6 and rx-8 vehicles, upping its total of affected cars by about 265,000. also, chrysler recently added roughly 139,000 vehicles from the 2003–2005 model years to its regional recall, which now includes the previously unaffected areas of alabama, georgia, louisiana, mississippi, texas, american samoa, guam, and saipan. (also, the 2006–2007 charger is now listed below, compensating for an oversight on nhtsa’s outdated master list.)
update 12/19/2014, 7:00 p.m.: giving in to nhtsa’s demands, chrysler has drastically expanded its now-nationwide recall—by more than 2 million vehicles. a number of 2004–2007 model-year products, included below and specifically called out in this press release, are being called back to have their driver’s-side airbag inflators replaced. the company reports only one related injury. according to the detroit free press, bmw is now the last automaker (of five) holding out from nhtsa’s demand for a nationwide airbag recall on affected vehicles.
update 12/30/2014, 10:00 a.m.: bmw has added another 140,000 vehicles to its now-nationwide airbag-recall list, meaning that all five primary carmakers involved in this situation have ditched the regional recalls. also, takata president stefan stocker has stepped down from the presidency of takata, and top company executives have agreed to take significant pay cuts.
update 1/20/2015, 4:00 p.m.: six panelists—including one who oversaw the cerberus ownership of chrysler—will join an independent review board in looking into takata’s manufacturing processes and recommending best practices for what has become one of the largest-ever auto recalls. former u.s. transportation secretary (1989–1991) samuel k. skinner will lead the panel.
update 2/11/2015, 10:25 a.m.: takata—finally—is increasing its capacity to produce replacement airbag inflators at its plants around the world. by september, according to automotive news, takata will be able to make 900,000 replacement units per month. upgraded assembly lines at a factory in mexico have already increased that plant’s capacity from 300,000 units per month to 450,000. meanwhile, reports of people being seriously injured by these defective airbags continue to arise.
update 2/20/2015, 4:10 p.m.: takata faces civil fines of $14,000 per day for its alleged refusal to cooperate with a federal investigation over these defective airbags. the supplier has provided plenty of paperwork to nhtsa, but the agency found the “deluge of documents” unsatisfactory.
update 3/12/2015, 12:10 p.m.: honda has announced that it is instituting a voluntary advertising campaign urging owners of honda and acura automobiles to check for open airbag and safety recalls that may affect their vehicle. see one of the ads and read more in our story.
update 3/19/2015, 2:25 p.m.: honda has added about 105,000 vehicles to its recall list. these include nearly 90,000 pilots from the 2008 model year as well as some 2004 civics and 2001 accords that previously weren’t part of the recall. our list below has been updated.
update 3/23/2015, 1:40 p.m.: according to a new survey, a surprising and unnerving number of americans evidently haven’t bothered to get these potentially lethal airbags repaired. just 12 percent of all cars recalled for faulty takata airbags in the u.s. have been repaired. in japan, conversely, a full 70 percent of the 3 million cars under recall have been repaired.
update 4/14/2015, 2:30 p.m.: honda has stated that the driver of a 2003 civic was injured by a ruptured airbag during a crash in florida on march 20.
update 4/21/2015, 10:15 a.m.: nissan has added another 45,000 sentras from the 2006 model year to its large-scale recall for defective takata airbags. owners will be notified via fedex. affected cars, according to nissan, are those “that currently are or previously were registered in florida and adjacent counties in southern georgia; hawaii; guam; puerto rico; saipan; american samoa; u.s. virgin islands; and coastal areas of alabama, louisiana, mississippi, and texas.” this action was partially prompted by the investigation of a march crash in louisiana in which a woman was injured by airbag shrapnel from her 2006 sentra.
update 5/13/2015, 3:15 p.m.: toyota and nissan announced new and expanded recall activity to replace potentially deadly takata airbags in nearly 6.5 million vehicles worldwide. the recall affects nearly 1 million vehicles in north america. the toyota rav4 (model years 2004 and 2005), previously unaffected by these recalls, is now on the list; toyota is recalling some 160,000 of the models to replace their driver’s-side airbags. the rav4 has been added to our comprehensive list below.
update 5/19/2015, 6:15 p.m.: takata has declared as defective nearly 34 million vehicles, which will lead to even more extensive recalls of vehicles with the company’s airbags (individual automakers will elaborate on the specific cars added to the recalls in the very near future). in its testing of the suspect parts, takata also found that driver’s-side airbags in 2003–2007 toyota corolla and matrix models (plus the pontiac vibe, a twin to the matrix), as well as 2004–2007 honda accord models, are at the highest risk.
in a news conference today, u.s. secretary of transportation anthony foxx called the expanded recall “the most complex consumer-safety recall in u.s. history.” he added: “up until now takata has refused to acknowledge that their airbags are defective. that changes today.” also, the company has agreed to pay the u.s. government significant fines for not cooperating in the investigations of numerous injuries and deaths; the exact amount will be announced at a later date.
update 5/20/2015, 1:00 p.m.: unnamed sources have told bloomberg that takata changed its airbag propellant in 2008 to reduce the risk of overly forceful deployment and to address the moisture-related degradation of the propellant.
update 5/27/2015, 10:00 a.m.: next tuesday, june 2, a panel from the u.s. house of representatives will hold a hearing to follow up on the status of this ongoing situation. “we have endured a year of takata ruptures and recalls, and families are still at risk. no excuses. michiganders, and all americans, have a right to answers,” committee chairman fred upton (r-mich.) said in a statement. the most recent congressional hearing took place in december.
update 5/28/2015, 10:00 a.m.: honda has added 259,479 vehicles to its japanese-market recall tally, according to automotive news. affected model years are from 2002 through 2008, which marks the first time that 2008 hondas have been included in this huge airbag recall. honda soon will announce additional airbag recalls for the united states, which will be part of the massive recall expansion announced last week.
update 5/28/2015, 1:25 p.m.: chrysler and honda have added hundreds of thousands of vehicles to their u.s.-market recall lists; this follows takata’s announcement last week that 34 million total vehicles were subject to action. at this point, honda is saying only that it will add roughly 350,000 vehicles to its list, although “most of the vehicles deemed at risk in takata’s defect-determination report were already subject to previous voluntary actions taken by honda.”
the chrysler expansion details approximately 1.2 million of its vehicles that were part of last week’s announcement, many of which are from model years that previously hadn’t been flagged. accordingly, the following have been added to our list below: 2009–2010 chrysler 300, 2008–2010 dodge charger, 2009–2011 dodge dakota, 2005–2010 dodge magnum (no magnums were previously recalled for this problem), 2009 ram 2500 and 3500, 2009–2010 ram 4500 and 5500, and 2008–2010 mitsubishi raider.
update 5/28/2015, 5:00 p.m.: ford has added more than 900,000 vehicles to its list of recalls for potentially defective airbags from takata. the 2009–2014 mustang and the 2006 ranger are new additions to the list. the later-model mustangs—recalled for driver’s-side airbags—are by far the newest cars to be included in this incredibly broad recall action.
update 5/29/2015, 6:25 p.m.: general motors now has vehicles on the ever-growing list below (besides the toyota-built pontiac vibe): it is recalling heavy-duty examples of 2007 and 2008 chevy silverados and gmc sierras. also, subaru has quadrupled the number of its vehicles subject to this airbag recall; that company’s additions are all 2004–2005 imprezas.
update 6/2/2015, 10:30 a.m.: a congressional hearing on this matter is scheduled for today at 2 p.m. we’ll cover the event throughout the afternoon. meanwhile, yesterday a takata executive announced that the company proposes “to replace all” of the troublesome “ ‘batwing-shaped’ propellant wafers” installed in north america. we should know a lot more later today.
update 6/2/2015, 3:35 p.m.: highlights so far from today’s congressional hearing come mostly from nhtsa administrator mark rosekind. he encourages consumers to frequently visit safercar.gov to see whether their vehicle and its vin have been added to the list; he promises that the website will have vin information for every single individual car affected by these expansive recalls within two weeks. rosekind is calling for carmakers to be more diligent in tracking down vehicles that have passed through multiple owners over the years so that the current owner gets recall notices as quickly as possible. if nhtsa had the authority, rosekind says, it would have forced off the road vehicles affected by the takata recalls sometime in 2014. rosekind also points out that the suspect takata airbag inflator has 10 different configurations, which complicates discernment of the root cause.
also, energy and commerce committee chairman fred upton (r-mich.) has pointed out that, “the messaging around these airbag recalls has been tortured at best,” and notes that takata is trying “to perfect an innumerable set of manufacturing variables, which for 10-plus years have resisted perfection.”
update 6/2/2015, 4:55 p.m.: sitting before the congressional committee, takata executive vp kevin kennedy states that he believes ammonium nitrate—a propellant that he admits is “a factor” in these rupturing airbags—is safe to use in his company’s products, including airbags installed as replacements in these recalls. he admits, though, that all of the defective airbags discovered in testing have used this type of propellant; takata is, kennedy says, transitioning to using guanidine nitrate, a propellant that other airbag suppliers already use. he reassures consumers that not all of the millions of recalled airbag inflators are defective and also that his company is testing components “outside the scope of the recall” to make sure that the callbacks are far-reaching enough. he also claims that his company shipped 740,000 replacement kits in may, in addition to supplying loads of airbags for new-car production.
update 6/2/2015, 7:05 p.m.: now posted: our full story on today’s developments and how takata plans to handle this situation moving forward.
update 6/4/2015, 3:00 p.m.: takata has informed reuters that at least 10 percent of the 4 million replacement airbag inflators installed as part of these recalls will have to be replaced again. the number could be much greater, as reuters notes, “the safety of more than 3 million replacement parts [is also] in question.” a nhtsa official said the agency will push takata and individual carmakers to “demonstrate to us that the remedy parts are safe for the life of the vehicle.”
update 6/5/2015, 10:10 a.m.: mazda has added more than 100,000 vehicles to its list of recalls, bringing the total to roughly 450,000. new to the list are the 2003 mazda 6 and the 2006 b-series pickup; additional mazdas from previously noted model years in the rundown below, including the rx-8 and the mazdaspeed 6, are part of this expanded recall. the cars are being recalled for driver’s-side airbag inflators, while the pickups are called back for their passenger-side airbags.
also, former takata president stefan stocker, who resigned that position in december, has now left his spot on the company’s board of directors. takata’s senior vice president of global quality assurance, hiroshi shimizu, has been named to the board, along with two other new appointments. last december, speaking before the house committee on energy and commerce, shimizu “rebuffed nhtsa’s claims that several million driver’s-side airbags now demonstrate a national safety risk.”
update 6/10/2015, 10:00 a.m.: a lawsuit filed with the u.s. district court in lafayette, louisiana, alleges that a 22-year-old woman was killed in early april when her 2005 honda civic’s driver’s-side airbag “violently exploded and sent metal shards, shrapnel and/or other foreign material into the passenger compartment,” automotive news reports. her car hit a telephone pole on april 5, two days before she received a recall notice for her car’s takata-supplied airbags. she died on april 9. her death, if it was indeed caused by the airbag, would become the seventh attributed to a failed takata airbag. the other six fatalities have all occurred in honda vehicles, and only one crash happened outside of the united states.
update 6/11/2015, 10:25 a.m.: there are many millions of vehicles involved in these recalls, but it seems as though 34 million, a figure that takata announced in mid-may, might be far too high. (that figure was for inflators, not vehicles, although few cars seem to be afflicted with multiple defective airbags.) reuters reports that the number is probably more like 16.2 million vehicles. keep in mind, though, that nissan and toyota may not have yet announced their recall expansions in response to takata’s aforementioned mid-may announcement. the figures in our chart below, as it appears today, add up to 15.97 million vehicles, which is within two percent of reuters’ figure.
update 6/12/2015, 11:35 a.m.: honda has announced that its financial results for the fiscal year that ended on march 31 will take a $363 million hit because of costs associated with repairing vehicles involved in the takata recalls.
update 6/14/2015, 7:00 p.m.: honda has confirmed that the death of kylan langlinais, whose 2005 civic crashed in louisiana on april 5 and which we detailed above on june 10, was indeed a result of the ruptured takata-supplied airbag in her car. automotive news reports that this is the second of seven deaths—all in honda vehicles—where “a driver received a [recall or safety-campaign] notification too late.” honda has recalled roughly 5.5 million vehicles with takata airbag inflators in the united states.
update 6/15/2015, 10:45 p.m.: honda has added nearly 1.4 million airbag inflators to this ever-expanding recall. the new recall is for passenger-side airbags on 2003–2007 accord and 2001–2005 civic models—two vehicles with the highest defect rates uncovered in takata tests. according to automotive news, most of these particular vehicles have already been recalled for their driver’s-side airbags.
update 6/16/2015, 12:10 p.m.: daimler has recalled 40,061 sprinter vans for their passenger-side airbags. dodge-branded sprinters from 2006–2008 are included, as are freightliner-badged sprinters from 2007–2008. vans in both 2500 and 3500 capacities are being recalled.
update 6/16/2015, 3:15 p.m.: toyota has announced that 1,365,000 more vehicles are subject to its airbag recalls. all of these particular vehicles are being called in for their passenger-side airbags. specific models involved are: 2003–2007 corolla and corolla matrix, 2005–2007 sequoia, 2005–2006 tundra, and 2003–2007 lexus sc430. takata recalls now cover some 2.9 million vehicles in the united states. a report in automotive news notes that 24 incidents of “incorrect deployments” of takata airbags have been recorded worldwide in toyota vehicles, with at least eight reports of injuries and no deaths.
update 6/18/2015, 11:15 a.m.: nhtsa finally knows the full scope of this massive, ongoing airbag recall. the 11 carmakers involved have identified every vehicle identification number (vin) covered by the recall. check your vin by using the government agency’s search tool. also of note: the senate commerce committee will meet next week to hear testimony from nhtsa experts, the transportation department’s office of the inspector general, and representatives from takata and automakers regarding the recall.
update 6/19/2015, 4:50 p.m.: general motors has added some 243,000 pontiac vibes to its tally of the already-recalled hatchback, which was built alongside the toyota matrix in the mid-2000s. the vibes in this action, from the 2003–2007 model years, are being recalled for their passenger-side airbags. the 2006 and 2007 model years previously had not been affected.
update 6/20/2015, 12:15 a.m.: honda has confirmed that an eighth person’s death was caused by a defective airbag in one of its products. the woman who died was involved in a crash last august in los angeles; she was driving a rented 2001 civic. bloomberg reports that this particular vehicle was part of four airbag-recall campaigns between 2009 and 2014, each of which resulted in notifications being mailed to the car’s registered owner, who never had the recalls addressed.
update 6/23/2015, 11:30 a.m.: another hearing on this matter is happening in congress today. early points of note include:
• nhtsa’s mark rosekind estimates that the 34 million defective airbag inflators are installed in 32 million vehicles, so only a small percentage of affected cars have more than one defective airbag. those figures may still not be entirely accurate, however.
• for months, nhtsa has been coming under fire for how it has handled the takata situation and other recent large-scale automotive recalls. staffing and funding are an issue for the government agency, but senator claire mccaskill said this morning that “i’m not about to give you more money” until major reforms are made.
• fiat-chrysler has hired trw to supply replacements for the defective takata parts in its recalled vehicles. takata has been supplying the industry at large with a major portion of the required replacement airbags thus far. fca senior vice president scott kunselman said during the hearing that his company would only use replacement airbags from trw and is confident that customers will not need to return for subsequent repairs.
update 6/23/2015, 3:45 p.m.: takata still does not know the root cause of its airbag failures and stopped short of guaranteeing its replacement parts. the company’s executive vice president in north america, kevin kennedy, testified today during the company’s third congressional hearing that “many of the replacement parts are alternative designs” but that it was continuing to test these replacements as it ramps up production to 1 million parts per month. “what we do know is that it takes a considerably long time for these problems to manifest,” kennedy said to the senate committee on commerce, science, and transportation.
update 6/25/2015, 10:50 a.m.: following takata’s annual shareholders meeting in tokyo today, company president shigehisa takada publicly apologized for the deaths, injuries, and issues that have been caused by the airbags produced by the company that his grandfather founded in 1933. “i apologize for not having been able to communicate directly earlier, and also apologize for people who died or were injured,” takada said, according to bloomberg. “i feel sorry our products hurt customers, despite the fact that we are a supplier of safety products.” the apology came on the heels of toyota and honda adding another 3 million vehicles to the worldwide list of those recalled.
update 6/26/2015, 10:30 a.m.: reuters reports that takata president shigehisa takada took a major pay cut last year, earning less than 100 million yen (about $810,000) compared with the $1.67 million he took home the year before. his wages could have been much less than ¥100 million, since, as reuters says, “japanese companies are required to disclose individual executive compensation only if it exceeds 100 million yen.” other senior executives at takata also earned less money last year.
following up on news that we first covered on june 12, honda has restated its operating profit for last year after taking into account costs associated with repairing vehicles fitted with potentially defective takata-supplied airbags. the effective cash loss of about $363 million remains as previously stated, bringing honda’s operating profit for the fiscal year that ended in march to $4.92 billion.
update 6/30/2015, 10:30 a.m.: according to a recent audit by the department of transportation’s inspector general, nhtsa—the agency that has been at the forefront of the examinations of these takata airbag recalls—is full of incompetent, mismanaged staff who are practically set up by their superiors to fail. read our analysis here.
update 7/8/2015, 9:55 a.m.: the airbag in a nissan x-trail started a fire after the takata-supplied device went off with excessive force during a crash in japan, according to automotive news. the passenger-side airbag “exploded, smashing the passenger-side window and sending high-temperature fragments into the dashboard, causing a fire.” the driver sustained minor injuries in the crash.
update 7/9/2015, 9:35 a.m.: honda has recalled another 4.5 million vehicles, bringing the total number of its cars and suvs involved in takata-airbag-related actions to 24.5 million. none of this newest batch were sold in north america; more than one-third are in japan. this latest recall expands upon a mid-may recall of 4.8 million non-north-american honda vehicles.
update 7/12/2015, 9:45 p.m.: nearly 90,000 dodge challengers from model years 2008 through 2010 have been added to this ever-growing airbag recall. according to automotive news and bloomberg, chrysler will recall 88,346 of the pony cars for possibly defective driver’s-side airbags. prior to this action, no challengers had been recalled for this issue.
update 8/12/2015, 11:50 a.m.: takata soon will begin a large-scale regional advertising campaign focused on raising awareness around the installation of replacement airbag inflators in affected vehicles. according to automotive news and bloomberg, the campaign is “a robust digital advertising campaign” that will include red “urgent airbag recall notice” banner ads on websites such as cnn and facebook. only high-humidity locales will be targeted with the ads: alabama, georgia, florida, hawaii, louisiana, mississippi, south carolina, and texas, as well as puerto rico and the u.s. virgin islands. also, a direct-mail campaign will target 85 percent of the u.s. market.
update 8/18/2015, 10:00 a.m.: volkswagen is now part of nhtsa’s probe on takata-supplied airbags, following the rupture of a side airbag in a 2015 tiguan during a crash involving a deer in june, automotive news reports. no one in the vehicle was hurt. if this problem is related to that which spurred the massive recall for takata’s front airbags, it would be notable as the first report of the issue affecting side airbags, volkswagen vehicles, and a model later than the 2011 model year (with the exception of the 2014 ford mustang). a takata spokesman told an, “we believe [this malfunction] is unrelated to the previous recalls, which the extensive data suggests were a result of aging and long-term exposure to heat and high humidity.”
automotive news points out that volkswagen and tesla are the only carmakers currently using takata inflators that so far haven’t been subject to the recall actions detailed here.
update 8/20/2015, 2:45 p.m.: following news earlier this week about the rupture of a side airbag in a 2015 vw tiguan, two u.s. senators on the committee investigating these defective airbags are calling for the immediate recall of all vehicles that use takata-supplied airbags. a statement on connecticut senator richard blumenthal’s website concludes: “in light of the most recent incident, which did not occur in one of the regions originally designated as ‘high humidity,’ and which involved a 2015 vehicle not currently subject to recall, we urge you to voluntarily recall all vehicles containing takata airbags.”
update 8/21/2015, 3:45 p.m.: toyota said it would consider using replacement airbag inflators from other suppliers, including autoliv, daicel, and nippon kayaku, as takata faces a production backlog and scrutiny over whether its replacement parts are just as defective. from the beginning, takata had agreed to let its competitors produce replacement parts alongside its own. toyota has about 12 million cars affected worldwide.
update 9/2/2015, 12:15 p.m.: nhtsa has announced that its previous totals for how many u.s.-market vehicles are affected by this takata airbag recall were vastly overestimated. the most recent figure that the government agency is reporting is 19.2 million vehicles affected, containing 23.4 million defective inflators (since the late 1990s, cars sold in the u.s. have been required to feature at least two airbags). nhtsa had been saying that 34 million defective inflators were in some 30 million cars and trucks here in america.
nhtsa’s updated figure is much closer to the total number of vehicles represented on our list below, which currently stands at 18.6 million.
update 9/28/2015, 12:30 p.m.: these recalls could soon grow to include additional carmakers. via letter, nhtsa recently contacted seven automakers that aren’t currently included in the takata recalls but which have used takata-supplied airbags containing the suspect ammonium-nitrate propellant. the companies are jaguar land rover, mercedes-benz, suzuki, tesla, volkswagen, volvo (trucks), as well as specialty manufacturer spartan motors. according to the detroit news, nhtsa said in the letter that the “remedy programs that are individual to each of the affected vehicle manufacturers have created a patch-work solution that nhtsa believes may not adequately address the safety risks presented by the defective inflators within a reasonable time. . . . this process is intended to produce solutions for the prioritization, organization, and phasing of remedy programs, and to appropriately address the multitude of factors contributing to the complexity of these recall programs.”
update 10/19/2015, 5:35 p.m.: general motors is recalling a few hundred 2015-model-year cars and crossover vehicles for potentially faulty takata-sourced side airbags; these vehicles aren’t yet shown on our comprehensive list below, but they’re called out in the post linked here. unlike these gm products, all of the vehicles currently noted below are being recalled for front airbags, and nearly all of them are from the 2011 model year or prior. also, nhtsa is planning to disclose more details—including additional manufacturers subject to the recalls beyond the current eleven—during a hearing on october 22.
update 10/22/2015, 12:50 p.m.: in a public hearing today, nhtsa administrator mark rosekind revealed more information about this massive recall situation. nationwide, only 22.5 percent of recalled vehicles have actually been fixed. it’s only slightly better in the humid gulf of mexico region, where recalls have been completed in 29.5 percent of affected vehicles even though airbag inflators in those locales are more likely to explode upon deployment. some inflators have been replaced with newer, but still at-risk, identical components. of the 115,000 removed inflators that takata has tested, 450 have ruptured.
at nhtsa’s request, the 11 affected automakers conducted a risk assessment, which found that six million total inflators in the united states “are in the highest-risk group that should take top priority for replacement parts,” according to automotive news, while roughly 11 million are in the middle-priority group and two million are least at risk. in general, the older the vehicle and the more humid the environment, the higher the priority that the airbag inflator(s) be replaced.
update 10/26/2015, 11:30 a.m.: the volkswagen group is gathering and testing takata-supplied airbags, automotive news reports. the company expressed to nhtsa a concern about the supply of replacement parts, if the takata recalls are expanded to vw’s brands, which seems likely at this point. vw is currently unaffected by these extensive recalls, but as we noted in august, a 2015 tiguan experienced a side-airbag rupture. all told, u.s.-market vw group products are fitted with roughly 2.4 million takata airbag inflators.
update 11/2/2015, 4:00 p.m.: honda is recalling a group of 515 2016 cr-vs for driver’s-side front airbag inflators that could separate in the event of a crash.
update 11/3/2015, 6:00 p.m.: the national highway traffic safety administration has issued takata a record civil penalty of at least $70 million. the airbag supplier could be responsible for paying nhtsa as much as $200 million total if further violations are discovered. as part of the issuance, nhtsa has ordered that takata “phase out the manufacture and sale of inflators that use phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate propellant.”
update 11/4/2015, 9:45 a.m.: honda has announced that it will no longer use airbag components from takata. in a statement, honda said: “we have become aware of evidence that suggests that takata misrepresented and manipulated test data for certain airbag inflators.” according to automotive news, honda has been takata’s biggest customer for many years.
update 11/6/2015, 9:55 a.m.: following honda’s lead, both toyota and mazda have said they will stop purchasing airbag inflators from takata, at least those that incorporate ammonium nitrate. according to automotive news, mitsubishi and subaru also are considering dropping the airbag supplier. nearly 40 percent of takata’s sales in 2014 came from airbag parts.
update 11/9/2015, 10:35 a.m.: nissan has now joined toyota, mazda, and honda in announcing that it will no longer use takata-supplied airbag inflators. the automotive news report on nissan’s declaration also notes that takata lost $70 million in the second quarter of 2015.
update 11/23/2015, 1:45 p.m.: ford is the latest carmaker to declare that it will no longer use takata airbag inflators with ammonium-nitrate propellant in its new cars. ford is the first non-japanese company to take this step.
update 11/25/2015, 11:00 a.m.: internal employee communications reviewed by the wall street journal show takata withheld airbag-inflator failures in reports to honda in 2000, four years before that automaker began its own initial investigation of a ruptured takata airbag in a customer car. the documents show takata’s u.s. employees were voicing concerns over their japanese colleagues doctoring data as “the way we do business in japan.” takata says the “lapses were and are totally incompatible with takata’s engineering standards and protocols.”
update 12/4/2015, 11:00 a.m.: japan’s transport ministry has banned takata airbag inflators that use ammonium nitrate as the propellant (and without a moisture-absorbing desiccant) from being installed in future cars. according to automotive news, such airbags “will be phased out from driver’s-side airbags by 2017 and passenger-side devices by 2018.” vehicle models that are subject to takata-related recalls have a six-month-shorter time frame for the phase-out. as noted above, nhtsa announced a similar ban for u.s.-market vehicles on november 3.
update 12/23/2015, 12:15 p.m.: nhtsa announced today that another person has died as a result of a faulty takata airbag inflator. the fatal july 2015 crash occurred in a 2001 honda accord. although the crash happened in pennsylvania, the car had spent several years in the humid gulf region. also, the agency has been informed of five new ruptures to passenger-side airbags, which is “likely” to result in expanded recalls of the 2002–2004 honda cr-v, the 2005–2008 mazda 6, and the 2005–2008 subaru legacy. (the honda and mazda models and model years are already reflected on the list below.)
update 1/4/2016, 3:00 p.m.: the new york times has detailed the contents of some internal takata emails from more than nine years ago. as far back as 2000, internal reports revealed that there were “several instances [of] ‘pressure vessel failures,’ or airbag ruptures, . . . reported to honda as normal airbag deployments.” one airbag engineer, according to the in-depth nyt story, wrote in a 2005 report “that he had been ‘repeatedly exposed to the japanese practice of altering data presented to the customer,’ adding that such conduct was described at takata as ‘the way we do business in japan.’ ” in the same report, the engineer “warned that while the fudging of the data had initially not changed the fundamental conclusions of the data, the practice had ‘gone beyond all reasonable bounds and now most likely constitutes fraud.’ ” in 2006, the same engineer wrote “happy manipulating!!!” in an email to a colleague about how to graphically deemphasize the “bimodal distribution” of some tests conducted at high temperatures. he also suggested that his co-worker use “thick and thin lines to try and dress it up, or [change] colors to divert attention.”
takata maintains that “the emails in question are completely unrelated to the current airbag inflater recalls.” a honda spokesman wouldn’t comment on the emails but said that his employer was “aware of evidence that suggests that takata misrepresented and manipulated test data.”
meanwhile, automotive news reports that some japanese carmakers “may jointly invest in takata” in order to soften the financial hit that the airbag supplier is facing as a result of these massive recalls.
update 1/8/2016, 4:15 p.m.: mazda will recall 374,000 cars in the united states due to their passenger-side airbags. according to automotive news, these airbags were found to be “prone to ruptures” in recent tests by takata. the 2003–2008 mazda 6, the 2006–2007 mazdaspeed 6, and the 2004 rx-8 are affected; these models had already been included on our list below, and we’