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Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata is set to add another 35 to 40 million airbag inflators to its already massive recall, nearly doubling what is already the largest recall in U.S. history, government sources told NBC News.
The recall will now be phased in over a period of about three and a half years, and will affect front airbags as well as passengers and driver’s side airbags that do not have a chemical agent to absorb moisture. The recall so far involves 14 different automakers.
The root cause of the problem with the inflators, according to government sources, has to do with time, temperature, humidity and moisture. A 17-year-old girl in Texas became the most recent victim of a Takata airbag inflator explosion, the tenth life lost to one of the faulty devices in the United States.
The nation’s auto regulators said they are dissatisfied with the pace at which Takata airbags are being replaced and repaired. Takata has struggled with the supply challenges posed by the enormous recall, and doesn’t have enough replacements for all the vehicles that have been recalled.
“Absolutely not, that’s unfortunately the worst lesson from the last young woman who lost her life,” Mark Rosekind, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said in recent weeks.
About one quarter of the 29 million airbags that were previously recalled have been replaced.