GM recalls nearly a million vehicles for defective airbag inflators

GM recalls nearly a million vehicles for defective airbag inflators

General Motors said Friday it is recalling nearly a million sport utility vehicles, while federal regulators are recalling 67 million defective airbag inflators that could explode if deployed.

The GM recall totals 994,763 2014-2017 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia vehicles with airbag parts manufactured by ARC Automotive. According to the automaker, affected drivers can have the driver’s airbag module replaced free of charge.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is asking airbag inflator manufacturer ARC, based in Knoxville, Tennessee, to recall 67 million units made before 2018 because they can explode and shrapnel can spurt around a vehicle.

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At least nine airbag-related incidents between 2009 and March of this year have resulted in two deaths and multiple serious injuries, NHTSA said in a letter to ARC released Friday. According to the agency, a driver in Canada and another in Michigan were killed by an exploding air pump in the driver’s airbag.

After an eight-year investigation, NHTSA has “tentatively concluded” that the airbag inflators are defective and is requesting ARC to recall them.

“Airbag inflators that eject metal fragments into vehicle occupants instead of properly inflating the attached airbag pose an unreasonable risk of death and injury,” the regulators write, noting that airbags — when functioning properly — “are designed to do so to save lives”. “

At least 12 automakers have used the ARC components in their airbags, according to NHTSA, and the recall could affect nearly a quarter of vehicles currently on US roads, according to the Associated Press.

However, ARC is resisting the demands of the regulators. In a May 11 letter, the company denied that its products were defective, stating that any problems with airbags “were due to random, one-off manufacturing anomalies that were properly addressed,” through individual recalls.

The answer triggers a potential lawsuit. The next step in this process, according to the AP, is for NHTSA to schedule a public hearing. The company could then force a recall in court.

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