Takata Airbag Recall: Honda, BMW, Mitsubishi and Other Car Brands Affected by Faulty Airbags

The U.S. government announced Wednesday a recall a total of over a million vehicles from several auto companies following the discovery of a new and potentially dangerous flaw in the vehicles' airbags.

Some older vehicles made by five automakers—Audi, BMW, Honda, Mitsubishi and Toyota—were recalled because of a malfunction that may exist in their airbags, which were manufactured by the Takata Corp. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 1.4 million vehicles may have the defect, but the agency estimates about 1 percent of them actually have it.

The NHTSA said the airbags contain Non-Azide Driver (NADI) inflators. This defect can cause the airbag's inflator to explode or "underinflate" when it is deployed—resulting in serious injury and even death. The NHTSA referred to the phenomenon as a "very serious threat to safety."

According to documents published by the NHTSA, the Takata Corp. wrote that it made 4.45 million of the NADI inflators between May 1, 1995, and August 31, 1999. Because the vehicles assembled with those inflators were released over two decades ago, the documents said, not all of the inflators are still in cars being driven today.

"The number of Takata NADI inflators for vehicles sold in the United States is substantially smaller but is not precisely known at this time," the documents said.

Takata, which filed for bankruptcy in July 2017, has a history of having to recall vehicles because of faulty airbags. According to the NHTSA, the vehicles recently recalled for NADI inflators join 41.6 million others that were previously recalled after it was discovered that they were sold with faulty airbags Tanaka manufactured. The airbags in those 41.6 million recalled vehicles have been associated with 24 deaths and 300 injuries worldwide—with 16 deaths in the United States alone, according to Consumer Reports.

All of the automakers have not yet released lists of vehicle models that may contain the faulty airbag inflators. However, a BMW spokesperson told Newsweek that a total of 116,491 of the company's vehicles could be recalled. The list of vehicles that may be affected include 323i and 328i Sedans and 323Ci and 328Ci Coupes. The spokesperson said consumers can visit the company's website to see the latest updates to the recall.

A spokesperson for Audi told Newsweek in an email that the company is solicitous about its customers' safety and is fully cooperating with the NHTSA.

"We are currently investigating whether any MY 1997-1999 Audi A4, A4 Cab, A6, A8, or TT vehicles are affected in the U.S.," the Audi spokesperson wrote.

A spokesperson for Mitsubishi Motor Corp. told Newsweek that the company "has not received any quality reports related to this recall matter." The company is working to identify which models may have the defect—and in which countries—and will comment when it has more information, Mitsubishi's statement said.

Honda also issued a statement about the recall to Newsweek. A Honda spokesperson stressed that it has not yet been determined whether any Honda vehicles contain the airbag defect.

"Honda is currently evaluating the potential effect on Honda and Acura vehicles from the 1996 to 2000 model years, and, if needed, will act quickly in the interest of our customers' safety," the statement read.

Newsweek also contacted Toyota for comment but did not receive a response before publication.

The recall is slated to commence on January 24, 2020, according to the NHTSA documents.

Logo of the Japanese auto parts maker Takata is seen from inside a car at a showroom in Tokyo on June 23, 2017. Behrouz Mehri/Getty