The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is pressuring Ford Motor Company and other automakers over their failure to meet a 2017 deadline to repair nearly 20 million faulty Takata airbag inflators, Automotive News reports. Takata inflators have been linked to at least 22 deaths and 290 injuries globally, having demonstrated a tendency to foul over time and activate with explosive force in the event of a crash, sending shrapnel into the cabin.
In 2015, the NHTSA issued an order to automakers including Ford that set a target of nearly 20 million recall repairs by the end of last year; according to the agency, more than 7 million of the affected Takata inflators have not been replaced. In response, the NHTSA has sent letters out to the automakers asking them to schedule meetings with the agency in order to discuss just how they intend to speed up repairs and replace any and all outstanding faulty Takata inflators.
“I am deeply concerned that, despite this progress, millions more vehicles with defective Takata airbag inflators remain on the roads,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King wrote in the letter. “We look forward to hearing your plans to complete the remedy program for these highest priority vehicles and your proposed timeline for doing so.”
Of the 22 deaths reported worldwide that implicate Takata airbag inflators, two have taken place in Ford pickup trucks, according to Automotive News. The automaker earlier this year partnered with Mazda and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in order to broaden its recall outreach in the Houston, Texas area. The area then ranked second in the country for unrepaired vehicles affected by the Takata recall.
Takata Corporation went bankrupt in the wake of the sweeping recall involving its airbag inflators, its assets being purchased by Key Safety Systems for $1.6 billion last month.