NHTSA orders GM to recall almost 6M trucks with Takata inflators

2014 Chevrolet Silverado

A Chevrolet Silverado

General Motors is being forced recall and fix almost six-million big pickup trucks and S-U-V's worldwide that are equipped with potentially unsafe Takata air bag inflators.

The announcement from GM came on Monday after the United States government informed it that it had to recall around six million vehicles in the country to check for the potential fault with the air bag inflators.

The company said Monday it will comply with a ruling by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall the vehicles after the agency denied its appeal, saying the carmaker had not established the callback was unnecessary.

As many as 27 people around the world have been killed due to the exploding inflators, putting every vehicle maker to have made use of Takata air bags in the line of recall fire.

Takata used volatile ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to fill air bags in a crash.

At least twenty-seven deaths have been linked to the faulty airbags, which can rupture with too much force and send shrapnel at passengers if the ammonium nitrate inside of them deteriorates due to excessive heat and humidity. The worldwide total is estimated at 7 million, which is a huge number by all accounts.

The recall is expected to cost the Detroit automaker $1.2 billion.

GM contends there is nothing wrong with the air bags, but will accept the ruling and begin the process of a recall, a company spokesperson wrote in an email to the AP.

The upcoming recall will affect several of GM's 2007 to 2014 pickup truck and SUVs models, including the Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac Escalade ESV, Cadillac Escalade EXT, Chevrolet Avalanche, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Chevrolet 2500/3500, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Sierra 1500, GMC Sierra 2500/3500, GMC Yukon, and GMC Yukon XL.

The NHTSA said GM has 30 days to provide a schedule for notification of vehicle owners as well as a remedy for the air bag inflator fix.

GM argues the 5.9 million vehicles are different from other vehicles with Takata inflators.

GM first filed a petition in 2016 seeking to avoid the recall.

Peter Prieto, a lawyer representing consumers in Takata lawsuits, said the decision "proves that GM's Takata inflators are neither unique nor special".

However, NHTSA hired air bag chemical expert Harold Blomquist, who holds 25 air bag patents, to review the data, and he concluded that the GM air bags were similar to other Takata inflators that had exploded.

Shares of GM were trading at $44.88 as of 1:36 p.m. EST on Monday, up $1.84 or 4.29%.

The company said the recalls will be phased in based on replacement inflator availability, and will cost $400 million this year.

The previous Takata recalls drove the Japanese company into bankruptcy and brought criminal charges against the company.

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