This is not a good time for Takata.
Faulty propellant has caused the Japanese company's airbags to rip upon deployment, spraying passengers with shrapnel. That's led to a years-long series of recalls affecting more than 12 million vehicles around the world -- a number that ticked up by 247,000 earlier this week, thanks to a new recall from Toyota.
Worse, another death has been linked to the airbags. According to the New York Times, cuts to the driver's neck were so severe, Florida police thought they must've been stab wounds. Officers had been looking for clues about the identity of her assailant, when a notice arrived in the mail, urging the dead woman to have the airbag on her Honda replaced. Mystery solved, for better or worse.
Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a public awareness campaign, urging owners of certain BMW, Chrysler, Dodge Ford, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Pontiac, Saab, Subaru, and Toyota models to have their vehicles repaired immediately.
NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman says that "Responding to these recalls, whether old or new, is essential to personal safety and it will help aid our ongoing investigation into Takata airbags and what appears to be a problem related to extended exposure to consistently high humidity and temperatures. However, we’re leaving no stone unturned in our aggressive pursuit to track down the full geographic scope of this issue".
All told, the recalls affect some 7.8 million motorists in the U.S. alone. The repairs are particularly urgent for owners of cars that have either been bought or registered in Alabama, American Samoa, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, Saipan, Texas, and the Virgin Islands, where humidity and temperatures are high.
NHTSA has published the following list of vehicles affected by the Takata airbag recalls. Even those who live in more temperate areas of the country are urged to visit SaferCar.gov and search for their vehicle's VIN to see if it's included.
Unfortunately, that's exactly what thousands of owners have done, which has caused the VIN search engine to crash. If your car is on the list of vehicles below, we recommend that you contact your local dealership instead -- they may be able to succeed where NHTSA's website has failed.
BMW: 627,615 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan
2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon
2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible
2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe
2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible
Chrysler: 371,309 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2005 – 2008 Chrysler 300
2007 – 2008 Chrysler Aspen
2003 – 2008 Dodge Ram 1500
2005 – 2008 Dodge Ram 2500
2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 3500
2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 4500
2008 Dodge Ram 5500
2005 – 2008 Dodge Durango
2005 – 2008 Dodge Dakota
Ford: 58,669 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2005 – 2006 GT
2005 – 2007 Mustang
General Motors: undetermined total number of potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2005 Pontiac Vibe
2005 Saab 9-2X
Honda: 5,051,364 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 – 2007 Honda Accord
2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
2003 – 2011 Honda Element
2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot
2006 Honda Ridgeline
2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL
2005 Acura RL