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GM to withdraw 7M vehicles worldwide to replace Takata airbags

DETROIT (AP) – General Motors will call about 7 million large pickups and SUVs worldwide to replace the potentially dangerous Takata inflatable airbags.

The move came Monday after the US government told the carmaker it had to withdraw 6 million cars from the US

The withdrawal will cost the Detroit-based manufacturer about $ 1.2 billion, about a third of its net income so far this year.

GM has said it will not fight the recall, although it believes the vehicles are safe.

The carmaker has petitioned the agency four times, starting in 201

6, to avoid withdrawals, claiming that the airbag inflator boxes are safe on the road and during testing. But on Monday, the National Road Safety Administration rejected the petitions, saying the blowers still risked exploding.

Owners who have commented to NHTSA say the company puts profit above safety.

Takata’s exploding inflatable gases caused the largest series of automatic seizures in US history, with at least 63 million seized. The US government says more than 11.1 million have not been fixed as of September. About 100 million inflators have been withdrawn worldwide.

It uses volatile ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to fill the airbags in the event of an accident. But the chemical can deteriorate when exposed to heat and moisture and explode with too much force, inflating a metal container and spewing shrapnel.

Twenty-seven people have been killed worldwide by explosive devices, including 18 in the United States

The download covers GM’s full-size pickups and SUVs from 2007 to 2014, including the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups. The Silverado is GM’s best-selling vehicle and the second best-selling vehicle in the United States. Also covered are Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe and Avalanche, Cadillac Escalade, GMC Sierra 1500, 2500 and 3500, as well as GMC Yukon.

It took the agency more than four years to reach a decision that comes to an end at the end of President Donald Trump’s four-year term.

NHTSA said in a statement that it analyzed all available airbag data, including engineering and statistical analyzes, aging tests and field data.

“Based on this information and the information provided in the public documentation of the petition, NHTSA concluded that the GM inflators in question are at risk of the same type of explosion after prolonged exposure to high temperature and humidity as other called Takata inflators,” the agency said. said.

The company has 30 days to give NHTSA a proposed schedule for notifying vehicle owners and initiating a recall, the statement said.

GM stated that although it considered that the recall was not justified on the basis of factual and scientific data, it would comply with the NHTSA decision.

GM spokesman Dan Flores said Monday that none of the inflators had disintegrated in the field or in laboratory tests. But he said GM did not want a long fight with the government.

“While we believe that blowers in GMT900 vehicles do not pose an unreasonable safety risk, they continue to perform as designed in the field and will continue to perform as designed in accordance with the results of our accelerated aging studies. , we will comply with NHTSA’s decision to maintain the trust of customers and regulators, “he said in an email.

The decision means that all Takata ammonium nitrate inflators in the United States will be withdrawn, NHTSA said. Earlier this year, the agency decided not to seek the seizure of a moisture-absorbing chemical called a desiccant. But NHTSA has said it will monitor these inflators and take action if a problem arises.

In a 2019 petition to NHTSA, GM said the blowers were designed to its specifications and were explosion-proof, although nearly 67,000 airbags were triggered in the field.

But Takata announced that GM passenger superchargers were defective under a 2015 agreement with the government.

In its petition, GM said Northrop Grumman tested 4,270 inflators by artificially exposing them to additional moisture and temperature cycles and there were no explosions or unusual implants. It states that GM has “found that exposure to moisture in the worst case scenario and cyclical temperature movements will not cause bursts of inflation … at any time within even unrealistically conservative estimates of the service life of the car.

Shares of GM rose nearly 3% in trading on Monday morning to $ 44.16.

Drivers can verify that their vehicles have been towed by going to https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls and entering their 17-digit vehicle identification number.

The recalls led Japan’s Takata to bankruptcy and brought criminal charges against the company. It was eventually purchased from a Chinese auto parts supplier.

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