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Report: Takata Airbag Investigation May Expand to More Automakers
The federal investigation over Takata airbags could expand beyond the 11 automakers currently involved, reports Reuters. Now, U.S. safety regulators say a vehicle's design could play a role in the airbag problems.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to make a major announcement on Thursday regarding the Takata investigation. Mark Rosekind, who heads the agency, hinted that the agency may add extra automakers to the consent order that was announced with Takata in May.
"We'll try to be very specific on Thursday but it goes beyond the 11," Rosekind told the media. As of September, automakers affected by the U.S. Takata recall included BMW, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota.
The move comes as NHTSA considers the role of a vehicle's design in the Takata airbag problems. This could include how well automakers seal off passenger compartments to protect against humidity. Ammonium nitrate, which is used in Takata airbag inflators, could become unstable if constantly exposed to high humidity. Takata recently said it will start adding a drying agent to some of its airbags with ammonium nitrate to reduce the risks.
NHTSA is expected to try and take a greater leadership role to coordinate the Takata recalls and ensure the affected cars receive the proper repairs. The agency says automakers could start acting faster when they suspect potential problems.