Drivers have been sent a major warning as the US wants to recall 67 million potentially dangerous airbag inflators found in many popular cars.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants ARC Automotive Inc. of Tennessee to recall 67 million airbag inflators because they could explode and hurl shrapnel.
The agency said at least two people have been killed in the US and Canada as a result of the supposedly defective inflators.
But the manufacturer is putting up a fight and refusing to recall the airbag inflators. ARC has also denied that its product is defective or dangerous to drivers.
ARC airbag inflators are used by several popular carmakers, according to the Associated Press – including Volkswagen, BMW, Ford, and General Motors.
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It is believed the recall will impact many of the 284 million vehicles on US roads.
In a letter to ARC, NHTSA director Stephen Ridella said: “Air bag inflators that project metal fragments into vehicle occupants, rather than properly inflating the attached air bag, create an unreasonable risk of death and injury.”
But ARC has slapped down the agency, claiming no defect exists in its airbag inflators, and that any problems are the result of isolated manufacturing issues.
In a statement on Friday, ARC said: “We disagree with NHTSA’s new sweeping request when extensive field testing has found no inherent defect.”
ARC Vice President of Product Integrity Steve Gold also wrote that NHTSA’s position is not based on any objective technical or engineering conclusion about a defect, “but rather conclusory statements regarding hypothesized blockage of the inflator orifice from ‘weld slag.’”
General Motors is recalling almost 1 million vehicles fitted with ARC airbag inflators, and warns and inflator explosion “may result in sharp metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants, resulting in serious injury or death.”
The recall covers certain 2014-2017 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia SUVs. Owners of the impacted vehicles will be notified by letter from June 25.
The company says it’s doing the recall “out of an abundance of caution and with the safety of our customers as our highest priority.”
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