NHTSA Forces GM Recall for 7M Cadillac, GMC, Chevrolet Pickup Trucks and SUVs Due to Takata Airbags

Federal highway safety officials are requiring a massive recall that impacts about seven million Chevrolet Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe and Avalanche vehicles, as well as Cadillac Escalade, GMC Sierra and Yukon vehicles from the 2007 through 2014 model years, due to a dangerous and defective airbag inflator that may be prone to rupture and explode in certain circumstances.

Although GM has been working to avoid taking this action for years, arguing that the vehicles are safe, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ordered the Takata airbag recall on Monday, which is expected to cost the company about $1.2 billion.

Takata airbags have resulted in the recall of tens of millions of vehicles in recent years, due to defects that may make the inflators prone to rupture and send shrapnel or debris into the passenger compartment. Although General Motors petitioned the agency at least four times since 2016, contending that the vehicles Takata airbags have a lower risk of rupture due to unique design differences, the regulators rejected that position.

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The recall will impact several popular pickup trucks and SUV models sold since 2007, which are equipped with defective ammonium nitrate based inflator designs, including Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet 1500, 2500, and 3500trucks, Suburban and Tahoe SUVs, GMC Sierra 1500, 2500, and 3500 trucks and the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL. Approximately 5.9 million of the impacted vehicles were sold in the United States, while another 1.1 million were distributed for sale internationally.

In response to Monday’s order, GM spokesman, Dan Flores, expressed to the media that GM does not believe the recall is warranted, but the company will not challenge the regulatory decision. As a result, General Motors has 30 days to give NHTSA a proposed schedule for notifying vehicle owners and starting the recall, according to Monday’s statement.

Customers with questions or concerns regarding their recall may contact General Motors customer’s service department at 1-800-462-8782 or enter their vehicle identification number on the NHTSA website.

Takata Airbag Recalls

Problems with Takata ammonium nitrate airbag inflators first surfaced in 2014, sparking the largest automobile recall in U.S. history. U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) officials tasked with regulatory oversight of the recall discovered the defective airbags were used among in millions vehicles on U.S. roadways, and that the inflators may explode under certain conditions, sending dangerous and potentially deadly shrapnel into the passenger’s compartment.

To date, at least 25 people have been killed worldwide by recalled Takata airbags and more than 300 have been injured. Of the fatalities, 16 have occurred in the United States, fourteen of which involved a Honda vehicle. At least another seven fatalities involving Honda vehicles equipped with defective Takata airbags have been reported outside of the U.S.

A number of airbag recall lawsuits have been filed over the massive Takata recall series, including claims by consumers who suffered severe and often life-threatening injuries when the airbag exploded following an accident. Given common allegations raised in the complaints, cases filed throughout the federal court system have been centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, as part of a multidistrict litigation, or MDL.

Image Credit: Image via charnsitr / Shutterstock.com

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