Cypress, Calif. – April 30, 2018 – Mitsubishi Motors North America has recalled more than 17,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective Takata air bag assemblies, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2004-2006 Mitsubishi Lancer sedans produced between Aug. 3, 2003, and Aug. 31, 2006.
The Japanese automaker suspects all of the vehicles referenced in the action contain the defective components.
This particular recall involving Takata air bags is part of a larger safety campaign stretching back to 2014 and involving more than 37 million vehicles from 13 automakers, according to the NHTSA.
Affected vehicles contain Takata air bag assemblies featuring defective inflators that are prone to combustion upon deployment. When exploded, the metal inflator housing fragments, sending bits of sharp throughout the cabin. Consequently, these fixtures pose a serious safety hazard to occupants. Takata air bags have killed 20 people and injured hundreds more worldwide, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Timeline of Events
Takata on May 18, 2015, submitted a Defect Information Report which advised all automakers involved with vehicles containing its air bag assemblies to expand ongoing recalls. The NHTSA relayed this information to automotive companies May 27, 2015. In response, Mitsubishi expanded an ongoing recall involving 2004-2005 Lancer sedans to include all remaining 2005 Lancer vehicles, as well as those produced in 2006 using the Takata air bag inflators.
Between May 2015 and September 2017, the automaker replaced defective air bag assemblies with temporary like-for-like replacements. During this time, Mitsubishi also developed a viable permanent replacement, which passed the final testing phase in September 2017.
Over the following months, the automaker mass-produced the parts to build of up sufficient supply for an expanded recall action addressing all of the vehicles that received temporary replacements. On March 29, 2018, Mitsubishi reviewed the matter and decided to launch a voluntary safety recall.
The automaker will direct dealers to replace the Takata air bag assemblies in affected vehicles free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. Mitsubishi intends to notify dealers April 19, 2018, and reach out to owners via first-class mail April 26, 2018. Owners in need of more immediate assistance can connect with Mitsubishi customer service personnel by calling (888) 648-7820. Callers should use the internal recall identification code SR-18-005. Owners can also contact the NHTSA directly using its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.