Mercedes-Benz Canada is expanding a recall affecting nearly 90,000 to replace faulty airbag inflators. It’s just the latest recall in the expanding Takata airbag scandal.
Transport Canada says in a recall notice that long-term exposure to high absolute humidity and temperature, combined with high temperature cycling, could eventually degrade the propellant contained in the passenger frontal airbag of 87,317 vehicles. That could cause the airbag to deploy with more force than normal. As a result, if the vehicle were involved in a collision that warrants airbag deployment, fragments could be propelled toward vehicle occupants, and the airbag assembly could be damaged, preventing proper function.
Mercedes-Benz Canada says the recall “pertains to the passenger side airbag module on vehicles that have already been flagged for the driver side airbag recall.”
The issues could increase the risk of injury, though no deaths or injuries in Canada have been reported by any automaker or Transport Canada.
The government safety agency says Canadian climate results in the propellant degrading slowly, so the recall is being conducted as a precaution to address future risk, and is expected to replace airbag inflators before their function would be affected.
The affected vehicles include the Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS from the model years 2010 through 2015 and C, E and GLK Class vehicles from the model years 2010 through 2017.
At least 23 deaths worldwide, including 15 in the United States, have been linked to the rupturing of faulty Takata airbag inflators. The issue has sparked the largest auto industry safety recall in history, involving about 100 million inflators among 19 major automakers.
The issue will not end any time soon as automakers will add close to 10 million additional inflators to the record-setting recalls in January, independent monitor John Buretta, who recently wrote a report on the recall.
More than 290 injuries worldwide have been linked to Takata inflators that can explode, spraying metal shrapnel inside cars and trucks.
To date, 21 deaths have been reported in Honda Motor Co. vehicles and two in Ford Motor Co. vehicles. Both automakers urged some drivers of older vehicles not to drive them until they got inflators replaced.
The defect led Takata to file for bankruptcy protection in June 2017. In April, auto components maker Key Safety Systems completed a US$1.6 billion deal to acquire Takata. The merged company is now known as Joyson Safety Systems and is a subsidiary of Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp.
Reuters contributed to this report.