Takata Corp. has been ordered to replace as many as 40 million additional airbags linked to deadly malfunctions, doubling what was already the biggest auto recall in U.S. history and putting more pressure on the troubled parts maker whose stock has already plunged.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the recall on May 4 after a week of leaks and weeks of discussions with the company. The action will include all airbag inflators that don’t have a desiccant to reduce moisture, a factor thought to contribute to misfires that spray bits of metal into the passenger compartment.
“This issue is urgent,” said Mark Rosekind, NHTSA administrator. “The science clearly shows these inflators can become more dangerous over time.”
The move more than doubles the 28.8 million inflators Takata had previously recalled in the U.S., affecting vehicles made by 12 different manufacturers including Honda Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. The crisis has wiped out 75% of Takata’s value in the past year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
At least 10 deaths have been linked to the devices. Two additional fatalities in Malaysia may be related to Takata air-bag explosions, Rosekind said.