Ford initiated a recall of 2.6 million older vehicles with defective Takata airbags following an NHTSA ruling in January that found the vehicles to be at risk. Those exact models were specified by Ford on Friday, as the largest automotive recall in history continues to reverberate years after the initial recall.
On January 21, the NHTSA denied petitions filed by Ford and Mazda in 2017 to avoid the sweeping recall of vehicles from the 2006 to 2012 model years.
The current recall encompasses 2.6 million vehicles in the U.S. (3 million in North America) that might cover cars already recalled for passenger-side frontal airbags. The driver-side frontal airbags are now being recalled.
Affected models include:
2006-2012 Ford Fusion
2007-2010 Ford Edge
2007-2011 Ford Ranger
2006-2011 Mercury Milan
2006-2012 Lincoln Zephyr/MKZ
2007-2010 Lincoln MKX.
Two people died due to inflator ruptures in the 2006 Ford Ranger.
Certain Mazda vehicles built by Ford during their partnership will also be recalled from the 2007-2009 model years. They encompass about 5,800 Mazda trucks based on the Ford Ranger.
The recall continues to expand years after first reports that defective Takata airbag inflators could rupture and shoot metal fragments into the head and chest of drivers and passengers. At least 18 people have been killed and 250 people injured in the U.S. because of the faulty inflators. The fatalities are higher globally.
The initial recall in 2015 limited the problem to vehicles in states with high humidity. Eleven successive recalls, including the latest at the end of 2020, broadened the scope of the recall to an estimated 70 million vehicles affecting 19 automakers.
The fallout continues. Japanese airbag supplier Takata went bankrupt, and automakers keep fighting—and losing—the NHTSA imposing a recall. In November 2020, the NHTSA forced GM to recall nearly 6 million full-size SUVs and pickup trucks. GM estimated the recall would cost them $1.2 billion worldwide.
Despite the widespread and unprecedented recall campaign, the NHTSA said that nearly 17 million vehicles have still not been fixed.