Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a nonprofit advocacy group, said it’s too early to tell if the automakers are dragging their feet on the recalls. But he says the investigation “highlights the need for aggressive oversight both by NHTSA and by the companies themselves in terms of when they get these reports to take them seriously and move more quickly.”
Cars can stay in use for many years, so it’s important to get them recalled, Levine said. “We need to recognize that just waiting these problems out is not going to solve the dangerous situations that defective parts can create,” he said.
DETROIT — The U.S. government’s highway safety agency has launched an investigation into four automakers that have a potentially deadly type of Takata air bag inflator in their vehicles but have yet to recall them.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in documents posted Thursday that it is investigating Audi, Toyota, Honda and Mitsubishi in connection with a Takata recall involving 1.4 million inflators.
The inflators made by the now-bankrupt Takata have a distinct and separate problem that can cause them to blow apart a metal canister and spew shrapnel into people’s faces and bodies. The problem killed a driver in Australia who was in an older 3-Series BMW, which has already recalled more than 116,000 vehicles.
The problem is so dangerous that in some cases BMW has told drivers to park their vehicles until repairs can be made.
The safety agency says in documents that Takata didn’t provide details on the affected makes, models or model years of vehicles with the defective inflators. So it is telling the companies to recall them promptly.
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