BY: Jason J. Thompson | IN: Class Action & Commercial Litigation
Volkswagen announced on February 10, 2016, that it is recalling 680,000 of its U.S. vehicles for defective driver-side airbags, manufactured by Japanese-based Takata Corp.
The recall comes shortly after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that about 24 million vehicles — not the initially reported 5 million — would need to be recalled to fix the airbag defect.
So far, more than a dozen automakers have recalled vehicles with about 28 million Takata air bag inflators, according to a CNBC report. These defective inflators can explode with too much force and spray metal shrapnel into the vehicle’s passenger area. The airbags have been linked to at least 10 deaths worldwide and more than 100 injuries in the United States.
The airbag defect was first exposed in 2014, but industry experts are still trying to pinpoint the cause and which vehicles are most susceptible. While they can’t say for certain, experts believe the problem is caused by an issue with the ammonium nitrate propellant in the inflators.
The recall affects Volkswagen vehicles manufactured from 2006 through 2014 and includes the following models:
Volkswagen has indicated that it will notify owners when their cars should be taken to a dealership for replacement airbags.
In the meantime, Volkswagen continues to face increasing legal troubles over the diesel-emissions scandal, litigation in which Sommers Schwartz attorneys are actively involved.
Last fall, Volkswagen admitted that it manipulated software in millions of diesel vehicles worldwide so they would appear to meet environmental standards during emissions testing when, in fact, they did not. Earlier this year, environmental regulators rejected Volkswagen’s proposal for fixing the vehicles.
Photo Credit: The Car Spy, Wikimedia Commons
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Jason Thompson is a nationally board certified trial attorney and co-chairs Sommers Schwartz’s Complex Litigation Department. He has a formidable breadth of litigation experience, including class action and multidistrict litigation (MDL), and practices nationwide in both state and federal courts.