General Motors will recall approximately seven million large pickups and SUVs around the world to replace potentially dangerous Takata airbag inflators.
The move came on Monday after the U.S. government told the automaker it had to recall six million vehicles in the United States.
The recall will cost the Detroit automaker about $ 1.2 billion, or about a third of its bottom line so far this year.
GM says he won’t fight the recall even though he thinks the vehicles are safe.
The automaker had asked the agency four times from 2016 to avoid a recall, saying the airbag inflators were safe on the road and during testing. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rejected the petitions on Monday, saying the inflators were still at risk of exploding.
Homeowners who filed comments with the NHTSA said the company was putting profits before safety.
The explosion of Takata inflators sparked the largest series of auto recalls in U.S. history, with at least 63 million inflator recalls. The US government says that as of September, more than 11.1 million had not been repaired. Around 100 million inflators have been recalled worldwide.
Takata used volatile ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to fill air bags in an accident. But the chemical can deteriorate when exposed to heat and humidity, and explode with too much force, detonating a metal cartridge and spitting shrapnel.
Twenty-seven people have been killed around the world by exploding inflators, including 18 in the United States.
The recall involves GM pickup trucks and full-size SUVs from model years 2007 to 2014, including the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks.
The Silverado is GM’s best-selling vehicle and the second-best-selling vehicle in the United States. Also covered are the Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe and Avalanche, the Cadillac Escalade, the GMC Sierra 1500, 2500 and 3500 and the GMC Yukon.
It took more than four years for the agency to reach its decision, which comes near the end of President Donald Trump’s four-year term.
NHTSA said in a statement that it has analyzed all available data on the air bags, including technical and statistical analysis, aging tests and field data.
“Based on this information and the information provided to the public petition registry, NHTSA concluded that the GM inflators in question risk the same type of explosion after long-term exposure to high heat and humidity as they do. ‘other Takata inflators recalled,’ the agency told me.
The company has 30 days to give NHTSA a proposed timeline to notify vehicle owners and initiate the recall, the statement said.
GM said that although it believes a recall is not warranted based on the factual and scientific records, it will comply with the NHTSA ruling.
GM spokesman Dan Flores said Monday that none of the inflators had exploded in the field or during laboratory tests. But he said GM didn’t want a protracted fight with the government.
“While we are confident that the inflators in GMT900 vehicles do not pose an unreasonable safety risk, continue to perform as intended in the field, and will continue to perform as intended in accordance with the results of our accelerated aging studies, we will comply with the NHTSA’s decision to maintain the trust of customers and regulators, ”he said in an email.
The ruling means all Takata ammonium nitrate inflators in the United States will be recalled, NHTSA said. Earlier this year, the agency decided not to request a recall of inflators containing a moisture-absorbing chemical called a desiccant. But NHTSA has said it will monitor these inflators and take action if there are issues.
In a petition to NHTSA in 2019, GM said the inflators were designed to its specifications and were safe, explosion-free, even though nearly 67,000 air bags were deployed in the field.
But Takata has declared GM’s front passenger inflators to be faulty under a 2015 agreement with the government.
In its petition, GM said Northrop Grumman tested 4,270 inflators by artificially exposing them to additional moisture and temperature cycling, and that there was no explosion or abnormal deployment. He says GM has “determined that exposure to moisture and worse than worst case temperature cycling will not cause inflator ruptures … at any point in even unrealistic vehicle life estimates.”
GM shares rose nearly 3% Monday morning to $ 44.16.
Drivers can check if their vehicles have been recalled by going to https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls and entering their 17-digit vehicle identification number.
The recalls drove the Japanese Takata into bankruptcy and initiated criminal proceedings against the company. Eventually, it was bought by a Chinese auto parts supplier.