Volkswagen recalls over 100,000 cars equipped with Takata airbag inflators

Auburn Hills, MI – January 4, 2021 – Volkswagen (OTCMKTS:VWAGY) has recalled 105,652 Beetles and Beetle convertibles whose driver-side Takata airbag inflators could explode, hitting the occupants of the vehicle with its potentially lethal metal fragments.

This is the latest in the series of widespread Takata airbag recalls. General Motors and Nissan recently announced their own recalls associated with these dangerous airbags.

This round of recalls involves the following model years:

  • 2012 Volkswagen Beetle compact cars, as well as the 2013 and 2014 models
  • 2012 Volkswagen Beetle convertibles, as well as the 2013 and 2014 models

Recall summary

Cars involved in this ever-growing Takata airbag recall were made with Takata inflators that may blow up during a crash and hurl metal fragments at the driver and passenger, injuring or killing them. 

The airbags on these Volkswagen Beetle convertible and compact cars are no exception, despite being made with a desiccant, or drying agent, that was designed to prevent moisture – which is one of the factors in the explosion – from getting into the airbags.  However, while the addition of the drying agent does help, it does not fully prevent these inflators from degrading, resulting in a high risk of an explosion. The risk becomes higher as the inflators age, according to a study submitted to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) on behalf of the manufacturers involved in the Takata recall in 2019.

Volkswagen’s internal efforts failed to show that these airbags were dangerous. However, the manufacturer agreed to recall the cars “out of an abundance of caution.”

To read more about the background of the Takata airbag recall, please see the following article about the recent General Motors recall of Takata airbags that suffered the same issue.


Exploding inflators pose a serious threat to the safety of car occupants. More than 25 people have been killed and at least 250 injured so far in the Takata airbag recall, which has turned into the biggest automotive recalls in U.S. history. 

The report provided by NHTSA to the public about the recall does not furnish any information about injuries associated with this particular Volkswagen recall.

Additional recalls

This is only the first round of Volkswagen recalls replacing desiccated Takata airbag inflators. The manufacturer has agreed to issue further recalls as vehicles age. The next recall, which will take place in 2023, will include 2015-2016 Volkswagen Beetles and Beetle convertibles. 2017-2019 Beetles and convertibles will be recalled in 2025, along with 2011-2014 Passats.


Volkswagen dealers will replace the airbag with one that does not contain ammonium nitrate. The repair is not yet available. Owners will be notified by mail starting February 12, 2021.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 100,000 vehicles are included in this Volkswagen recall. As of April 29, 2021, 2,151 airbags had been replaced, with 103,501 remaining. Use MotorSafety’s free recall lookup tool to see if your vehicle is among the ones that still need to be repaired.

Note: June 8, 2021

We have noticed a large number of readers are interested in this recall. For that reason, we have updated the completion rate of this recall in the last paragraph to reflect the most up-to-date information.

Rebecca RandVolkswagen recalls over 100,000 cars equipped with Takata airbag inflators

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