U.S. auto safety regulators again warned drivers that certain older pickups made by Ford Motor Co. should be parked until the company can replace dangerous air bags that can explode in a crash.
The 2006 Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series pickups contain defective air bag inflators made by Takata Corp. that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in January first warned should not be driven because the parts pose "an immediate risk to safety." The NHTSA issued an additional warning Monday due to slow progress in replacing the defective parts, which can explode in a crash and spray vehicle occupants with metal shards.
The defect — afflicting Takata inflators in multiple automakers' vehicles — has been linked to more than a dozen deaths and hundreds of injuries.
"I cannot stress strongly enough the urgency of this recall — these air bags are dangerous," Heidi King, deputy administrator of the NHTSA, said in a statement Monday. "Every vehicle must be accounted for now."
The defective parts have been replaced in about 49% of the 33,320 Rangers and 55% of the 2,205 Mazda pickups, NHTSA said. Ford produced the Mazda pickups under a joint venture.
Dealers for both brands will tow the trucks for repairs free of charge.