Arab Today, arab today us safety regulator probes arc airbag inflators
Last Updated : GMT 08:53:10
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US safety regulator probes ARC airbag inflators

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Arab Today, arab today US safety regulator probes ARC airbag inflators

Airbag inflators made by ARC Automotive
Washington - AFP

US safety regulators said Tuesday they are investigating automobile airbag inflators made by a US firm, raising the possibility of another recall similar to the roiling Takata scandal.

Inflators made by ARC Automotive were involved in two incidents of exploding airbags on older model Chryslers and Kias, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a posting on its website.

The NHTSA said it opened the investigation on Monday of ARC airbag inflators installed on 490,000 vehicles: 420,000 model year 2002 Chrysler Town and Country minivans and 70,000 model-year 2004 Kia Optima vehicles.

There were no fatalities linked to the two airbag explosions, which can send deadly shrapnel into the vehicle's occupants, but two injuries were reported, according to the posting.

In December 2014 the agency received a complaint about a 2009 incident of a driver's side airbag rupture on a Chrysler minivan in Ohio.

After contacting Fiat Chrysler Automobiles about the problem and looking for similar incidents, the NHTSA said it had determined that it was an isolated event.

However, in June, South Korean automaker Kia informed the agency of a lawsuit alleging a 2014 rupture in a driver's side airbag in New Mexico.

"At the present time it is unknown if there is a common root cause in these incidents," the NHTSA said, adding that it had opened the investigation to collect facts from the involved suppliers and vehicle manufacturers.

The affected Chrysler vehicles' airbag was made by Key Safety Systems, while that for the Kia was made by Delphi.

The inflator in the bags in both incidents was made by ARC, based in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The investigation comes amid the widening scandal over Japanese firm Takata's defective airbags, which have been linked to eight deaths and more than 100 injuries around the world.

Ten global automakers, including General Motors, Honda and Germany's BMW, are being forced to recall 34 million cars inside the United States alone to replace the inflators -- the biggest recall in US history.

"Problems with a second airbag component manufacturer could cause automakers big headaches, since there are so few suppliers of airbags and airbag components as it is. For consumers, it could slow the recall repairs even more with such a limited supply base," said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at AutoTrader.

 

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