Japanese parts maker Takata Corp has admitted to United States regulators that 265 units of its airbag inflators – source of a series of massive global recalls – ruptured during company testing since September, according to Automotive News.

Defect reports filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that the ballistics tests involved over 30,000 inflators from recalled vehicles. The vast majority of the these inflators were taken from vehicles in high-humidity states along the Gulf of Mexico and outlying US territories, the centre of Takata’s recalls and investigations; even so, five ruptures were observed on units from outside those regions.

Takata has also said that out of the 84 real-world ruptures it is aware of, 15 were from vehicles not covered in previous recalls. It also cited vehicle design as a potential factor in the ruptures for the first time.

“Takata’s test results and investigation indicate that this potential for rupturing may also depend on other factors, including vehicle design factors and manufacturing variability,” said one defect report. “Even with identical inflator designs, the likelihood of a potential rupture is greater in certain vehicle models … due to factors that have not yet been identified,” another stated.

Despite this, neither Takata, regulators or carmakers have been able to pinpoint the root cause of the ruptures, even though investigations into the matter have been going on for months. So far, long-term exposure to moisture and temperature changes – which can degrade the inflators over time, making them more volatile and prone to explode with too much force – have been mooted as leading factors.


The reports are part of Takata’s admission that it has manufactured defective airbags – an issue that has been linked to at least six deaths and over 100 injuries – and that it is set to expand the recalls to nearly 34 million vehicles in the US alone. This contrasts with the reticence showed until recently; the company once claimed that there was no defects with the composition of the airbags’ propellants.

The expanded recall broadens the vehicle list – affected automakers include General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and BMW, on top of Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda and Mitsubishi, which are all anticipated to detail the list of affected models soon. The NHTSA says that the remedy of vehicles will be prioritised based upon risk, with the vehicles that present the greatest risk in terms of age and geographic location to be serviced first.

Over here, Honda Malaysia has recalled 87,182 units of the 2003-2008 City, 2003-2008 Civic, 2002-2007 CR-V, 2004-2006 Jazz and 2004-2005 Stream, in addition to the 15,734 vehicles it recalled last November; this is on top of a separate recall it issued in July 2014.

UMW Toyota has also recalled 97,000 units of the 2001-2007 Camry, Corolla Altis, Vios, Yaris and RAV4, while Edaran Tan Chong Motor recalled four units of the original CBU Nissan X-Trail.