Ford’s Air Bag Recall Expanded, Now Includes Over 500K Vehicles

Ford Motor Co.succumbs to government demands and goes nationwide with its driver’s side air bag recall. 

Ford Motor Company added 447,000 vehicles to its recall today joining Honda Motor Co Ltd and Mazda Motor Corp following demands by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make the recall include all vehicles in the United States subject to repair. The air bags in question, or more specifically their inflators, were made by Japan’s Takata Corp. and could explode with two much force sending shrapnel into the driver and the car itself.

Prior to today’s announcement, Ford had only recalled the air bags in question in Gulf Coast states known for their high humidity; that is states with average annual dew points of 60 degrees. Now the recall has not only gone nationwide but Ford announced that it would extend the recall to Canada, Mexico and a handful of other countries. The recall involves 2005 to 2008 Mustangs and 2005 and 2006 GT sports cars bringing the total recall to over 502,000 vehicles. Dealerships nationwide will replace the inflators in question at no cost to owners of the vehicles included in the recall.

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Ford, Takata and the holdouts

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called on five automakers to make the recall nationwide. With the Ford announcement today it will put additional pressure on the two holdouts: BMW and Chrysler. While BMW is still debating the merits of the demands of the NHTSA, Takata and Chrysler have outright refused and could face legal action.

Certainly aware of the announcement by Ford today, Takata took out full-page advertisements in several newspapers today explaining that it intends to work with the NHTSA and will increasing its production capacity for the needed replacement air bags. Takata is also trying to determine if it can use third-party air bags in the replacement kits.

Ammonium nitrate and humidity

The NHTSA has stated that the inflator propellant used in the air bags in question, ammonium nitrate, burns faster than it should when exposed to regular airborne moisture and can explode the metal canister designed to contain the explosion.

In this year alone, automakers have recalled over 12 million vehicles containing Takata air bags.