General Motors will recall as many as 7 million big pickup trucks and Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) across the world to replace potentially dangerous Takata air bag inflators, The Associated Press said in a report. The Detroit-headquartered American multinational corporation made the announcement on Monday after the US government asked the automaker to recall about 6 million of the vehicles domestically.
General Motors is a company that designs, manufactures, markets and distributes vehicles and vehicle parts, and sells financial services, with global headquarters in Detroit's Renaissance Center.
The company believed its vehicles were safe but it won't fight the decision. The decision will cost General Motors an estimated $1.2 billion, which is about one-third of its net income so far this year.
The automaker, which had earlier petitioned the agency four times since 2016 to avoid any vehicle recalls, has been contending that their air inflator canisters have been safe on the road and in testing. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Monday denied the petitions, stating that the inflators still run the risk of exploding. Meanwhile, owners also complained to the NHTSA that the company was placing profits over safety.
The General Motors will recall full-size pickup trucks and SUVs from the 2007 through 2014 model years, including the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups. The Silverado is General Motors' top-selling vehicle and the second-best selling vehicle in the US. Others including Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe and Avalanche, the Cadillac Escalade, GMC Sierra 1500, 2500 and 3500, and the GMC Yukon.
Exploding Takata inflators have caused the largest series of auto recalls in US history, leading to recalling of about 63 million inflators. According to the US government, over 11.1 million inflators had not been fixed as of September. As many as 100 million inflators have been recalled worldwide.
As per the AP report, Takata used volatile ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to fill air bags in a crash. But the chemical can deteriorate when exposed to heat and humidity, and it can explode with too much pressure, blowing apart a metal canister and spewing shrapnel. The report said twenty-seven people have been killed worldwide by the exploding inflators, including 18 in the US.
In a statement, the NHTSA said that it analysed the data on the air bags, including engineering and statistical analyses, aging tests and field data. "Based on this information and information provided to the petition's public docket, NHTSA concluded that the GM inflators in question are at risk of the same type of explosion after long-term exposure to high heat and humidity as other recalled Takata inflators," it said.
Earlier this year, the NHTS had decided against a recall of inflators with a moisture-absorbing chemical called a dessicant. NHTSA said it would monitor those inflators and take action if problems arise.