Inflated airbagEnlarge Photo
Another day, another massive series of recalls related to Takata's fatally flawed airbags. The devices have caused more than 100 injuries and at least ten deaths when they exploded after deployment, spraying vehicle occupants with shrapnel. Most of those deaths have occurred in the U.S.
Two weeks ago, the first Takata-related fatality was confirmed in a non-Honda vehicle -- specifically, in a Ford Ranger -- and that has triggered a rapid expansion of the airbag recall. This week, German manufacturers announced plans to add more than 2.5 million U.S. vehicles to their recall rosters, bringing the total number of automobiles in this country affected by the Takata recall to roughly 26.5 million.
VW & AUDI
Volkswagen hasn't been hit too hard by the airbag scandal -- which is good news, since it's had other pressing issues to deal with lately. The company's luck began to change on Monday, though, when news broke that Volkswagen would recall a small number of 2015 VW Tiguan and 2015 Audi Q5 vehicles. Now, VW has enlarged its recall list by a whopping 680,000 vehicles, including:
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Not to be left out, Audi plans to recall around 170,000 of its own cars, including:
The potentially good news is that neither Audi nor VW have identified the specific vehicles involved in the recall, which means that they'll likely be limited to particular dates of manufacture. So, if you own one of those models, there's a chance you might not be affected.
The definitely good news is that Volkswagen has no reports of ruptures in the specific Takata inflators found in those vehicles -- specifically, inflator models SDI and PSDI-5.
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The bad news is that Volkswagen doesn't yet have enough replacement parts to carry out a full recall. Owners of affected vehicles will receive a recall notice by mail, informing them of the repair timeline, which -- based on other automakers' Takata recalls -- could take be broken into a couple of phases, with owners in humid areas of the country given priority. (That's because the ammonium nitrate that Takata used in its inflators has proven especially unstable when combined with moisture.)
The VW and Audi recalls include a stop-sale for any of the above vehicles currently listed at dealerships as certified and pre-owned.
If you own one of these vehicles and have further questions, we'd encourage you to call VW customer service at 800-822-8987 or Audi customer service at 800-822-2834.
Daimler has announced plans to recall roughly 840,000 vehicles in the U.S., 705,000 of which come from its Mercedes-Benz luxury line. The vehicles up for inclusion are 2005 - 2014 models of:
The remaining 136,000 vehicles are vans from the Dodge, Freightliner, and Sprinter brands, manufactured during model years 2007 - 2014.
As with the Volkswagen recalls, additional details will be made public after further tests are conducted to determine the specific vehicles affected. However -- also like Volkswagen -- Daimler knows of no airbag ruptures in the aforementioned vehicles.