In November, the long, frustrating Takata recall reached a turning point. After months of stonewalling and foot-dragging, after numerous deaths and injuries had been linked to its exploding airbags, and after losing its biggest client (Honda), Takata finally admitted fault.
The company was fined $200 million, said that it would stop using ammonium nitrate in its devices, and agreed that millions of driver-side and passenger-side airbags needed to be replaced.
That, in turn, began to streamline what had been a very complicated, confusing recall process. A couple of weeks ago, Honda broadened and simplified its Takata-related recalls, and now, Mazda has done the same.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mazda is recalling 374,519 vehicles manufactured between 2002 and 2008 to replace passenger-side airbags manufactured by Takata. As we've discussed before, the ammonium nitrate in those devices can become unstable over time, causing the airbags to explode upon deployment. To date, they've been linked to nine deaths and scores of injuries worldwide. Eight of the fatalities occurred here in the U.S.
The recall covers the following Mazda models:
- 2003-2008 Mazda Mazda6 vehicles built between May 29, 2002 and May 5, 2008
- 2006-2007 Mazda Mazdaspeed6 vehicles built between July 1, 2005 and June 29, 2007
- 2004 Mazda RX-8 vehicles built between June 25, 2003 and June 30, 2003
If that list looks familiar, it should: it's nearly identical to the list of vehicles that Mazda recalled last summer to replace driver-side airbags. Now, most those owners will need to make a second trip to their Mazda dealers to have their passenger-side airbags replaced, as soon as they receive the official recall notice in the mail from Mazda. The fix will be carried out at no charge.
If you own one of the vehicles listed above and have questions, you're encouraged to contact Mazda customer service at 800-222-5500 and ask about recall #9015L. You can also call NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #15V869000.