American automotive manufacturer General Motors (GM) said on Friday (May 12) that it was recalling nearly one million Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) in the United States over faulty airbag inflators, according to American media reports. GM recalled 994,763 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia vehicles from the 2014 through 2017 model years with airbag parts produced by ARC Automotive, a report by CBS News on Friday said.
GM said that affected drivers could have the airbag module replaced free of cost. The announcement by the automaker comes amid a push by federal regulators to recall 67 million defective airbag inflators that could explode during deployment.
Earlier, GM told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in March that it was notified about a crash involving a 2017 Chevrolet Traverse in which the front-driver air bag inflator allegedly ruptured during deployment, a report by USA Today said citing a safety report. The driver suffered facial injuries in the crash, as per the NHTSA
The NHTSA has urged ARC Automotive to recall the 67 million defective airbag inflators manufactured before 2018 as they could explode and spray shrapnel around a vehicle.
In a letter to ARC on Friday, the NHTSA said that at least nine air bag-related incidents that occurred between 2009 and March this year resulted in two deaths and multiple severe injuries. A driver in Canada and another in Michigan were killed by an exploding inflator in the driver-side airbag, it said.
After an eight-year probe, NHTSA “tentatively concluded” that the airbag inflators were defective and called on ARC to issue a recall.
“Air bag inflators that project metal fragments into vehicle occupants, rather than properly inflating the attached airbag, create an unreasonable risk of death and injury. Accordingly, the Agency makes this demand that ARC immediately submit to NHTSA a Part 573 Recall Report that identifies a safety defect in the subject driver and passenger air bag inflators,” Stephen Ridella, director of NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation, said in the letter.
The NHTSA also said that at least a dozen automakers used the ARC components in their airbags.
On Thursday, ARC Vice President of Product Integrity Steve Gold responded to Ridella by saying that the NHTSA’s position was 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.’”
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