Mazda recalls vehicles with defective air bags

 

Washington, D.C. – Jan. 22, 2017 – Mazda North American Operations has recalled dozens of vehicles potentially equipped with defective, Takata-brand air bag inflators, according to documents submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2006 Mazda B Series pickup trucks produced between Oct. 5, 2005 and Oct. 11, 2005. The automaker suspects only 1 percent of the models referenced in the recall actually contain the defective safety components.

The Takata air bag inflators involved in this action are at the center of one of the largest automotive recalls to date. Numerous brands have recalled more than 49 million vehicles worldwide believed to contain the problematic devices, which have claimed the lives of approximately 21 drivers and injured at least 184 others, Car and Driver reported.

The Defect

Affected models feature Takata front air bag inflators that are prone to rupture upon deployment. This poses a serious safety risk to occupants, as the instantaneous degradation of the device sends shards of metal flying throughout the cabin. In light of this possibility, Mazda has advised owners to discontinue use of their vehicles until repairs can be made.

Timeline of Events

On May 18, 2015, Takata informed the NHTSA and its production partners that certain air bag inflator models were defective and prone to rupture, according to the NHTSA. Ford Motor Company, which had long partnered with Mazda to create B Series pickup trucks, reviewed the supplier’s submission to the NHTSA and determined that an immediate safety recall was necessary. Mazda engineers agreed with the assessment and initiated a joint recall action with Ford involving nearly 20,000 2004-2006 B Series pickup trucks. Between September 2015 and October 2017, the Japanese automaker replaced the air bag inflators found in recalled vehicles with temporary like-for-like components.

In December 2017, Mazda informed the NHTSA that permanent replacement parts were available and launched two separate follow-up actions.

On Jan. 2, Ford received a report detailing a fatal accident involving a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup truck – the vehicle off of which the B Series model is based – equipped with Takata air bag inflators. The American automotive company reviewed production records with officials from Takata and found that Mazda had installed the same problematic inflators in some of its B Series trucks. Ford gave Mazda a list of the models that were potentially affected Jan. 9. Two days later, the Mazda Quality Audit Committee met and decided to conduct a voluntary safety recall.

The automaker notified dealers Jan. 16.

The Solution

Mazda has directed dealers to replace the front air bag inflators in the recalled vehicles free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. The company intends to notify owners via first-class mail Jan. 19. Those in need of additional assistance can contact Mazda customer service at (800) 222-5500. Callers should use the internal recall identification code 2218A. Owners can also connect with the NHTSA directly using its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

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