A side air bag defect from one supplier that already has caused Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Subaru recalls is being investigated by the government, and recalls by more makers may follow.
The four makers have recalled a total of 2,700 vehicles so far because the bags might not inflate, and all four told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the problem inflators came from the same supplier: the Americas unit of Swedish parts maker Autoliv.
The Associated Press reported today that NHTSA posted documents detailing the probe of the Autoliv parts on its website last weekend. The vehicles were recalled because of a bad mixture of the gas for the side curtain bags that could result in not inflating on one or both sides of the car in a crash, according to the documents. They also said no one has been injured so far.
Autoliv told NHTSA that it shipped about 10,500 of the problem inflators to automakers and two other air bag manufacturers. In addition to the four companies with recalls already, parts went to Chrysler Group, Ford Motor, General Motors, Kia Motors America and Suzuki Motor. Autoliv did not specify the models that might have gotten the bad inflators.
Spokesmen for GM and Ford told the AP that their air bag inflators are designed differently than others and have not failed in extensive testing, and that they don’t expect recalls. Chrysler and Kia had not returned messages. Suzuki said it could not comment because it had not gotten official notification from NHTSA.
Autoliv spokesman Mats Odman told the AP in an e-mail today that the problem occurred one time in production parts tests at minus-22 degrees Fahrenheit, but further tests indicated a risk at low temperatures.
Toyota and Honda first reported the problem to NHTSA on Jan. 31, the documents said.
The vehicles recalled already include:
- 427 2011 Toyota RAV-4s made from Nov. 24 through Dec. 19.
- 974 2012 Honda Accords, Civics, Crosstours and Acura MDXs made from Nov. 30 through Jan. 26
- 381 2012 Subaru Legacy and Outback vehicles made from Dec. 1 through Dec. 23
- 976 2012 Nissan Altimas and Versas made from Nov. 21 through Dec. 21.