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The United States is calling for a recall of 67 million air bag inflators


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People watch the new Buick Enclave Avenir after its unveiling on April 11, 2017 in New York.

Kenna Betancourt | AFP | Getty Images

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has demanded a recall of 67 million air bag inflators because it believes there is a safety flaw, but ARC Automotive Inc denied the US regulator’s request, documents released Friday show.

The Motor Vehicle Safety Agency said inflators pose an unreasonable risk of death or injury.

Even as the cracks mount, NHTSA said in its request letter to the Tennessee-based company, “ARC has not made a determination about a flaw that would require a recall of these residents.” “Airbag inflators that shoot metal fragments at vehicle occupants, instead of properly inflating the accessory airbag, create an unreasonable risk of death and injury.”

ARC air bag inflators are found on General Motors, Chrysler’s Stellantis, BMW, Hyundai Motor, Kia and other vehicles. General Motors on Friday agreed to recall nearly 1 million vehicles equipped with ARC airbag outlets after a rupture in March injured the driver.

ARC rejected NHTSA’s initial conclusion that the glitch exists saying it was based on seven field tears in the United States. NHTSA “then requires the ARC to prove negative – that the 67 million inflators in this population are not defective” that were produced over the course of 18 years. The company said it will continue to work with the NHTSA and automakers to assess the lacerations.

In 2016 NHTSA upgraded a probe to more than 8 million air bag inflators made by ARC after a driver was killed in Canada in a Hyundai and had been investigated for more than seven years.

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NHTSA initially opened an investigation in July 2015 after two reported injuries.

Delphi, which was acquired by Autoliv ALV.N, manufactured approximately 11 million inflators under a licensing agreement with ARC, which manufactured the remainder of the inflators.

ARC indicated that there were several programs testing inflators collected from scrapped or other vehicles but not a single tear occurred during these tests.

67 million inflators have been produced for the US market on multiple production lines across different plants and used by 12 automakers in dozens of models. “None of these manufacturers has concluded that there is a systemic abnormality across this broad population,” ARC said.

NHTSA said that in January 2018 ARC completed installation of the devices on blower manufacturing lines used to detect excessive welding slag or other debris. NHTSA said it was not aware of the problems with ARC inflators produced since then. ARC said it had not been confirmed that weld slag was the root cause of the rupture.

NHTSA has been inspecting air bag ruptures for over 15 years.

Over the past decade, more than 67 million Takata air bag inflators have been recalled in the United States and more than 100 million worldwide, the largest vehicle safety recall in history.

More than 30 deaths worldwide — including 24 in the United States — and hundreds of injuries in various automakers’ vehicles since 2009 have been linked to Takata air bag inflators that can explode, shooting metal fragments inside the cars. and trucks. The most recent death was in July 2022 in a 2010 Chrysler 300, one of three Stellantis fatalities in a seven-month period.

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