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12 million airbags in Fiat Chrysler, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota cars under Federal Investigation
The largest recall in US history has been underway for 2 years now; airbags manufactured by Takata installed in 1.3 million vehicles become notorious for faulty inflators that would cause them to explode and send shrapnel and debris flying into passengers. Takata pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $1 billion dollars in criminal penalties, and most thought the dust had settled.
That already historic investigation has now expanded beyond just Takata-built airbags. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a federal investigation of another huge supplier: TRW Automotive Holdings, now known as ZF-TRW. Now, the focus has expanded to 12.3 million cars manufactured by Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi, and Toyota, with the model years in focus of 2010 to 2019.
This time, instead of exploding airbags, the focus is on airbag control units that don’t deploy the airbags at all due to “electrical overstress.” While occurrences are low, as of March 2018, the malfunction had been linked to 4 deaths and 6 serious injuries.
According to the NHTSA’s report, Hyundai, Kia, and Fiat-Chrysler have previously issued a recall for vehicles with the potentially defective TRW airbag control units. Furthermore, the agency also found that two crashes involving Toyota vehicles also had a faulty airbag control unit.
While the full list of vehicles effected has not been released, a tool on SaferCar.gov provides a VIN-based search tool for drivers to check for potential defects and open recalls on their vehicles.