by Jerry Hirsch
Los Angeles Times
With a massive recall involving air bags Monday, the auto industry has broken the U.S. annual record for safety recalls in less than half a year.
The problematic part, made by Takata Corp., is used in millions of vehicles made by half a dozen automakers, underscoring how the growing use of common parts is amplifying some safety problems. To cut costs, automakers are designing different models to share platforms and many parts — meaning a single defect can affect millions more vehicles than in the past.
Just two defective parts — the Takata air bag inflator, and the faulty ignition switch behind GM’s ongoing safety scandal — are responsible for 17% of the 31.4 million vehicles recalled so far this year. That breaks the previous record of 30.8 million vehicles recalled in all of 2004.