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Automakers recall 1.7 million cars with potentially deadly air bags

Automakers recall 1.7 million cars with potentially deadly air bags
  (Los Angeles Times)

Subaru, Tesla, BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler Vans, Mercedes and Ferrari are recalling about 1.7 million vehicles to replace potentially deadly air bag inflators made by Takata Corp. of Japan.

The inflators can hurl shrapnel into drivers and passengers. At least 23 people have died from the problem worldwide and hundreds have been injured.

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The moves, announced Friday by the U.S. government, are part of the largest series of automotive recalls in U.S. history. About 10 million inflators are being recalled in the United States this year, with as many as 70 million to be recalled by the time the whole mess ends late next year.

Takata air bags used the chemical ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate the bags. But the chemical can deteriorate over time due to high humidity and cycles from hot temperatures to cold. The most dangerous inflators are in areas of the South along the Gulf of Mexico that have high humidity.

The recalls, which began in 2001, are being phased in over time and managed by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Many of the U.S. recalls are limited to specific geographic regions. Owners can check to see if their vehicles have been recalled by going to the NHTSA recall web page and entering their car’s 17-digit vehicle identification number.

In the latest round, Subaru is recalling 826,144 vehicles, including various Forester, Legacy and Outback models from 2010 to 2014.

Mercedes is recalling 288,779 vehicles from model years 2010 to 2017.

Volkswagen is recalling 119,394 vehicles, including Audi and Passat models, from 2015 to 2017.

BMW is recalling 266,044 vehicles from the 2000-04 model years and the 2007-15 model years.

The recalls also include 159,689 vehicles from Daimler Vans spanning model years 2015 to 2017.

Tesla is recalling 68,763 Model S vehicles from 2014 to 2016.

Ferrari is recalling 11,176 vehicles of various models from the 2014 to 2018 model years.

As of December, automakers have recalled 50.36 million inflators and replaced 27.2 million of them. That leaves more than 23 million yet to be replaced, according to the NHTSA website.

Ford, Honda, Toyota and Fiat Chrysler have already released their 2019 Takata recalls, totaling more than 5 million vehicles.

The recalls forced Takata to seek bankruptcy protection and sell most of its assets to pay for the fixes.

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