Ford is the latest carmaker to stop using airbag inflators produced by the Takata Corporation, after other manufacturers including Toyota, Mazda, Nissan and Honda dropped the Japanese-based automotive parts company as well.
“Ford Motor Company products currently in development will not be equipped with Takata airbag inflators that use ammonium nitrate,” Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said in a statement.
As a recap, ammonium nitrate is part of the composition in Takata’s airbag propellant. When subjected to moisture and heat, it can render the inflator unstable, causing it rupture with excessive force, spewing metal shards into the cabin.
So far, eight deaths and more than 100 injuries worldwide have been recorded due to this defect. In the United States, twelve carmakers issued recalls for about 19.2 million vehicles that were fitted with the defective airbag inflators.
However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) predicts that the total could reach an estimated 23.4 million vehicles, according to Reuters. Ford itself has recalled 1,509,535 vehicles from the 2005 to 2014 model years because of the defect.
Among the vehicles recalled include the Mustang (MY2005-2014) and GT (MY2005-2006) for driver-side inflators. Meanwhile, the model year 2004 to 2006 Ford Ranger pick-up trucks manufactured in the US were recalled due to defective passenger-side inflators.
As Takata doesn’t exclusively make airbags but also other parts like seat belts, Felker said it remains a “possibility” that Ford will continue sourcing parts from Takata in the future, according to a report by Automotive News.
Earlier in the month, Takata was issued a Consent Order that includes a USD$200 million fine, and required the company to phase out the production and sale of inflators that use phase-stabilised ammonium nitrate propellant.