Franklin, Tenn. – July 17, 2017 – Nissan North America has recalled more than 515,000 vehicles believed to contain defective Takata air bag assemblies, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2007-2011 Nissan Versa sedans manufactured between Nov. 21, 2006 and July 2, 2011, as well as 2007-2012 Versa hatchbacks produced between April 26, 2006 and Dec. 18, 2012. The car company is unsure at this time what percentage of the vehicles contain the defective air bags.
This campaign follows numerous other recalls related to Takata air bag components. Since 2004, dozens of automakers have been forced to conduct safety recalls and orchestrate the removal and replacement of over 100 million Takata air bags, Bloomberg reported. The company finally filed for bankruptcy last month, citing financial damage brought on by multiple multimillion-dollar fines and settlements. Takata will pay $975 million in restitution costs to victims and carmakers and $25 million in fines as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Affected vehicles could come equipped with air bag assemblies using Takata PSDI-5 inflators. These fixtures, which use calcium sulfate desiccant, emit metal fragments when deployed, putting drivers and passengers in grave danger. The PSDI-5 and other Takata inflators caused hundreds injuries and 17 reported deaths, according to Bloomberg.
Timeline of Events
In March 2016, Nissan, in conjunction with the NHTSA and Takata, initiated an internal review meant to pinpoint and recover air bag assemblies from vehicles with PSDI-5 inflators, according to the NHTSA. Between April 2016 and January 2017, the car company collected the fixtures and performed propellant analysis and ballistics tests to determine their condition. Nissan reviewed the test results for PSDI-5 inflators later that month.
Between March and June, Takata performed independent tests on vehicles from other OEM car makers to determine the operability of PSDI-5 inflators. The parts provider submitted the results to the NHTSA July 7. Nissan reviewed this data, along with its internal findings, and determined that a voluntary safety recall was necessary July 10. Nissan notified dealers July 21.
Nissan is still working on a workable solution and plans to work with an alternative parts manufacturer to produce safe air bag inflators for the Versa, according to the NHTSA. When the remedy is available, the automaker plans to instruct dealers to install the replacement parts, free of charge. Nissan will send interim recall notification letters to owners sometime at the end of September. However, owners who need immediate assistance can contact Nissan customer service at (800) 647-7261 or reach out to the NHTSA directly via the organization’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.