Airbag Recalls Again: GM and Component Manufacturer Takata, by Greg Webb

By Greg Webb, October 10, 2014

Airbags are in the news as both GM and Japanese manufacturer Takata deal with defective airbags. GM has ordered a halt in sales of 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickup trucks. And there is renewed attention on Takata airbags, used primarily in Honda vehicles.

“Documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, show Honda, the biggest buyer of Takata airbags, first learned about an exploding airbag in 2004. They recalled about 4,000 cars in 2008. The recalls have now reached 11 million vehicles.” (CBS News)

The latest GM issue is improper wiring of airbags. GM spokesman Alan Adler announced that midsize trucks made at the Wentzville, Missouri factory were improperly wired. The recall is pending but GM has halted all sales and is seeking a fix for the problem. The 2015 midsize pickup trucks were released in September and only a few dozen have been sold. GM is calling customers sending letters via FedEx explaining the issue.

According to GM, “This condition affects the vehicles’ two-stage air bag system by reversing the deployment sequence and disrupting the deployment timing of the driver airbag stages. This condition will cause the driver airbags to not function as designed.”

In last week’s announcement, GM recalled the Cadillac SRX crossover, 2010-2015 model years and the Saab 9-4X crossover, 2011-12 model years, for rear suspension problems. According to the automaker a nut that secures a crucial piece of the suspension could loosen causing the part to detach, causing the driver to lose control. There have been three verified crashes attributed to this suspension defect.

GM also recalled the Chevy Spark compacts, 2013-2015 model years, because the hood could open while the car is being driven. This defect is caused by a substandard anticorrosion coating, which caused the hood latch to rust. There have been no reported crashes due to this defect.  (New York Times, 10-4-14)

All of the above are safety related defects.  If you have one of these vehicles, contact your local dealer as soon as possible.  For more on automobile defects and recalls, visit:  www.nhtsa.org

GM has had a staggering 72 recalls this year, totaling approximately 26.4 million vehicles!  That cannot be a good business model.