— Ford and Mazda will soon recall vehicles to replace Takata airbag inflators after failing to convince the government there are no problems with safety.
Ford and Mazda issued previous airbag recalls but told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) certain Takata inflators were "inconsequential to motor vehicle safety."
The automakers filed petitions requesting to bail out on the driver-side airbag recalls, petitions that have now been denied by NHTSA. According to safety regulators, Ford and Mazda failed to establish the defects are inconsequential to safety.
The Center for Auto Safety told NHTSA that Ford's petition, “contains unsupported assertions as fact, and . . . no corresponding data or scientific studies confirming the safety of the PSDI-5 airbag inflators.”
“Where the petition does reference the testing conducted by Takata on Ford inflators, there is little evidence provided to suggest that these inflators will continue to perform after years of exposure.” - The Center
In denying the petitions, Ford will recall 3 million of these vehicles.
- 2007–2011 Ford Ranger
- 2006–2012 Ford Fusion
- 2006–2012 Lincoln Zephyr/MKZ
- 2006–2011 Mercury Milan
- 2007–2010 Ford Edge
- 2007–2010 Lincoln MKX
Mazda’s recall will include 5,848 model year 2007–2009 B-Series pickup trucks which were built on the same platform and using the same Takata airbag inflators as 2007–2011 Ford Ranger trucks.
At least 30 people have been killed worldwide by Takata airbag inflators that exploded and sent sharp pieces of metal into the occupants. More than 400 injuries have also been reported in vehicles manufactured by multiple automakers.
In total, 19 automakers have recalled about 100 million Takata airbag inflators, the majority located in the U.S.
NHTSA's denials follow a similar path the government took with General Motors after the automaker filed four petitions that claimed the Takata airbag inflators in nearly 6 million vehicles weren't defective.
NHTSA announced in November 2020 that GM would have to replace the airbag inflators at a cost of about $1.2 billion.