Tesla plans to recall all models of Model S produced between 2012 and 2016 in phases starting from February
Takata Corporation’s faulty airbag inflators led to the biggest ever automotive recall in the US which got even bigger in 2016 when 40 million more airbags were added, including some installed in the Model S, the all-electric luxury sedan by Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA). Given its size, the Takata airbag issue has resulted in the most complex recall ever.
After the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sends out guidelines to assist the process of recalling the vehicles based on their risk, Tesla will start replacing the passenger airbags in its older models of the sedan over the coming years, Electrek reported. The company technically required replacing the airbags in the Model S in regions with “high humidity,” but it opted for recall of all the vehicles, starting with the ones delivered in 2012.
Tesla contacted the Model S owners and told them that it will replace the airbags in every 2012 vehicle in the world, as customer safety is “paramount;” however, no incident related to airbag rupture has been reported. Starting from February, the company will recall 2012 models and then gradually move to all the other models produced till “late 2016.”
Interestingly, Tesla Roadster, the Model X, and 2017 Model S are not affected by the recall. According to the NHTSA, the airbags in vehicles built between 2013 and 2016 are “safe” and their owners have to wait for further notice from the company. Yet, the company will strive to “proactively” replace them, even before the NHTSA asks them for owners’ “peace of mind.”
The NHTSA said last year that a combination of environment, fluctuating high temperatures, and moisture degrades ammonium nitrate propellant in the airbag inflators. This can burn the propellant rapidly, rapture the inflator module, as well as send “shrapnel” via the airbag into the vehicle passengers. Interestingly, all the vehicles with Takata’s airbags are not equally dangerous or might not be dangerous at all.
Takata’s airbag has led to 10 deaths and over 100 injuries across the country. Thus, the company agreed to a settlement of $1 billion last week, which includes compensation for automakers and victims and a fine.