The bad news for Takata keeps on coming: according to Detroit News, Ford Motor Company has expanded its existing recall for the 2004-2005 Ranger pickup truck.
The number of Ford vehicles affected by the recall won't change. All told, Ford has issued recall notices for just over 85,000 U.S. cars and trucks to replace Takata-brand airbags. (Note: at first, Ford only planned to recall 58,669 vehicles, but that number was subsequently increased.) The number of Rangers affected remains 23,713.
As initially reported in a bulletin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (PDF), the recalls will still be limited to "Ranger vehicles originally sold or currently registered in Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and equipped with Takata-brand air bag inflators". That's because data suggests that the ammonium nitrate that Takata's safety systems use to deploy airbags is affected by humidity. In some cases, bags have ripped upon deployment and sprayed vehicle occupants with shrapnel. At least five deaths have been linked to the faulty devices -- three in the U.S. alone.
What has changed is the scope of repairs made to the Ranger pickup. In U.S. vehicles, Takata's airbag problem is more commonly found in passenger-side front airbags. However, a recently revealed fatality in a Honda City subcompact car has caused Ford to rethink its fix, since the Takata airbag used in the City (a model no longer produced and never sold in the U.S.) is similar to the one used in the Ranger. And so, at NHTSA's request, Ford has amended its repair to include the Ranger's driver-side airbags, too.
It bears mentioning that neither Ford nor Takata know of any injuries or fatalities linked to Takata airbags in the Ford Ranger. One has been reported but not confirmed in a Ford Mustang.
Ford officially began its recall last month. If you own a 2004 or 2005 Ford Ranger and have questions -- especially if you've already had your vehicle repaired -- you're encouraged to contact Ford Customer Service at 800-392-3673 and ask about recall #14B04. Alternately, you can ring NHTSA directly at 888-327-4236 and inquire about safety campaign #14V343000.