The Takata airbag inflator saga continues as GM tells NHTSA some Takata airbag safety risks are inconsequential. As surprising as that may seem, the company asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to relieve it of any notification and remedy obligations pertaining to some passenger-side airbag inflators in its GMT900 vehicle platform. If granted, GM will not have to tell vehicle owners and lessors about the defects in these airbag inflators, much less replace them.
Takata filed a Defect Information Report (DIR) with NHTSA in May of 2016 when it discovered a defect in some of its passenger-side airbag inflators. When a DIR is filed by an automotive supplier, it then becomes the vehicle manufacturers’ responsibility to file a DIR of its own regarding the affected models. GM filed two DIRs on May 27, 2016. However, GM’s DIRs came with an attachment in which the company called the recalls “preliminary” as it didn’t agree that a defect actually existed in the inflators used in the GMT900 platform. GM’s statement included its expectations of providing NHTSA with “additional test data, analysis or other relevant and appropriate evidence in support of our belief that our vehicles do not pose an unreasonable risk to safety.” Despite that stance, the company added that it “will conduct a recall of its airbag inflators covered by the May 2016 Takata DIRs, unless GM is able to prove to NHTSA’s satisfaction that the inflators in its vehicles do not pose an unreasonable risk to safety.”
The company followed up in November 2016 with a petition to NHTSA asking to be absolved of its obligations to inform owners/lessors of the defect and to replace the defective parts.
Read this article and submit comments to NHTSA by September 14, 2017.