The effects of the crisis around defective airbag inflators from Takata continues to linger for Ford, which issued two recalls for more than 153,000 model-year 2004-14 vehicles after discovering that obsolete Takata airbag modules were not purged from service stock. Those modules, in turn, may have been installed in collision and theft repairs. The action is unrelated to a January ruling in which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the automaker must recall 2.7 million vehicles for driver-side Takata inflators.
In short, former auto supplier Takata Corp. is responsible for the largest automotive recall in U.S. history, accounting for at least 67 million inflator recalls in tens of millions of vehicles. Takata’s faulty inflators can degrade after long-term humidity exposure and inflate with too much force during an airbag deployment, sending metal fragments into the vehicle’s cabin. Authorities have linked the crisis to at least 18 U.S. deaths and hundreds of injuries.
Following its own investigation and tracing, Ford said it could not account for some of the obsolete Takata service parts, which weren’t purged from service stock after the parts for the permanent service fix became available. This means faulty inflator modules may have been installed on vehicles as part of collision or theft repairs. However, Ford said it is not aware of any reports of accident or injury related to this issue.
Which Vehicles Are Affected?
All three contemporaneous Ford brands were affected (Ford stopped producing Mercury vehicles in 2010), but they’re part of two distinct groups.
In the first group, roughly 1,100 vehicles with collision repairs may now have an obsolete Takata inflator. This includes:
- 2004-11 Ford Ranger
- 2005-14 Ford Mustang
- 2006 Ford GT
- 2007-10 Ford Edge
- 2008-12 Ford Fusion
- 2010-12 Lincoln MKZ
- 2007-10 Lincoln MKX
- 2009-11 Mercury Milan
In the second group are 45 missing single-stage inflators. Ford said it’s possible these obsolete Takata service parts were installed for repairs after collision damage or theft.
The affected Rangers had the Takata permanent repair performed before the service parts were purged. At NHTSA’s request, Ford is issuing a safety recall for all 153,107 of these pickup trucks.
Which Airbags Are in Question?
Both driver-side and passenger-side frontal airbag inflator modules are part of the recall.
What Happens Next?
For the first group, dealers will inspect the driver or passenger airbag inflator or module and replace, if necessary. For the second, Ranger-exclusive group, Ford will notify owners that they can visit their dealer for an inspection and, if necessary, an airbag inflator replacement.
Customer notifications for each recall will begin the week of March 8.
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