On the heels of a massive series of recalls over defective Takata airbags, automakers Fiat Chrysler and Honda are set to recall five million more vehicles to remedy another airbag defect that has gone unaddressed for years. According to a filing with federal safety regulators that just recently went public, Continental Automotive Systems, the German supplier that manufactures airbag components, has said that it has been aware of a defect in some units since the beginning of 2008. Semiconductors within the unit are susceptible to corrosion, which can lead the airbag to deploy inadvertently or not to deploy at all. At least nine injuries have been linked to the defect.
Continental informed automakers of the problem, and it was left up to automakers to issue recalls based on the warning. The supplier then remedied the problem within a matter of a few months.
Federal law mandates that once a manufacturer is made aware of a safety issue, they have five business days to inform federal regulators of their plans for a recall or face civil penalties. The manufacturers’ mishandling of this safety issue follows a pattern within the auto industry of significant delays in disclosing and remedying safety defects. According to a Potomac independent auto safety expert, the pattern seems to be to “conceal, delay, deny.” Instead of addressing this issue years ago when the problem was first discovered, automakers now have to recall millions of vehicles.
So far, 14 car manufacturers have had to recall an estimated 24 million vehicles to address airbag defects, with several millions more possibly defective airbag systems still on the road.
Recalls will be announced for the following vehicles:
- 2008-2009 Dodge Grand Caravan minivan
- 2008-2009 Chrysler Town & Country minivan
- 2009 Dodge Journey
- 2009 Volkswagen Routan
- 2009-2010 Honda Accord
Mazda and Volvo are also expected to announce recalls over Continental-made airbag units.
If you or someone you know has been hurt in a car accident, a vehicle defect may have been to blame. Contact a New York product liability attorney at The Russell Friedman Law Group, LLP to discuss your options for legal recourse.