GM recalls nearly a million vehicles because airbag inflators can explode

General Motors CEO Mary Barra discusses various topics related to the automaker, including plans to integrate artificial intelligence into vehicles and a new autonomous vehicle.

General Motors has ordered a recall for nearly a million of its sports utility vehicles in the United States because of defective airbag inflators that could explode in an accident.

The automaker filed a safety recall notice for 994,763 vehicles with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Friday. The affected models are 2014-2017 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia vehicles equipped with Tennessee-based ARC Automotive Inc. airbag inflators.

Owners of the affected vehicles can have their airbag inflators replaced free of charge at a dealership.

The recall comes as federal regulators are asking ARC Automotive Inc. to recall 67 million airbag inflators in the United States because of the risk of them exploding and throwing splinters at drivers and passengers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least two people have died in the United States and Canada as a result of the defective devices.

GM abandons CHEVY BOLT and switches to electric trucks

General Motors on Friday issued a recall for nearly 1 million vehicles with defective airbag inflators, including the 2015 Buick Enclave 4WD model pictured here. (Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images / Getty Images)

One such accident involved a Michigan mother of 10 who died in her 2015 Chevrolet Traverse in what would otherwise have been a minor accident. According to a police report, fragments of metal from the airbag inflator hit her in the neck.

Investigators discovered on April 25 that the driver’s front airbag inflator had ruptured.

GM said it is still investigating the problem with the support of an outside engineering firm. “GM is conducting this expanded field operation with great caution and with the safety of our customers as our top priority,” the Detroit-based automaker said.

GM said it was aware of two previous breakages in ARC-made airbag inflators in 2015 Chevrolet Traverse vehicles, and GM had previously conducted two small recalls of about 3,000 ARC inflators.

BMW is issuing a ‘do not drive’ warning for older models with recalled airbags that could explode

The General Motors (GM) logo seen displayed on a smartphone screen in this photo illustration of the American automotive multinational. (Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images / Getty Images)

CHICAGO – FEBRUARY 10: The 2017 GMC Acadia on display at the 109th Annual Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place on February 10, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Raymond Boyd/Getty Images) (Raymond Boyd/Getty Images / Getty Images)

In a letter released Friday, NHTSA told ARC that after an eight-year investigation, it had tentatively concluded that the driver’s and passenger’s front inflators were defective.

“Airbag inflators that eject metal fragments into vehicle occupants instead of properly inflating the attached airbag pose an unreasonable risk of death and injury,” Stephen Ridella, director of NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation, wrote in a letter to ARC.

However, ARC denies that the design is flawed, claiming that all issues are related to isolated manufacturing issues.

Honda owners of older models are advised to park until the “dangerous” airbags are replaced

The company’s refusal to issue a recall leads to a legal battle with regulators.

“We do not agree with NHTSA’s new comprehensive request, although extensive field testing has not revealed any inherent deficiency,” ARC said in a statement Friday night.


The Associated Press and Portal contributed to this report.