Volvo to recall 460,000 cars over potentially deadly airbag issue

*The automaker discloses that in the event of a crash where the driver airbag is activated, fragments of the inflator inside the airbag may project out, and in a worst case, strike the driver, potentially resulting in a serious injury or death

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

Volvo is recalling more than 460,000 cars, with 259,000 of them sold in the United States (US), because of a potentially lethal airbag issue.

It was learnt the Swedish carmaker has announced it is aware of at least a fatality.

The issue is similar to the problem with Takata airbags that prompted the largest auto recall in history over the last decade, report said.

Upon airbag deployment, the inflator can rupture and spray metal fragments throughout the interior of the car, according to Volvo.

As with the Takata airbag recalls, the Volvo issue is limited to older models, including the 2001-2006 S80 and 2001-2009 S60.

The vehicles were produced between May 2000, and March 2009.

Meanwhile, Volvo reportedly told the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) that the problem occurs when the vehicle is in a crash and the airbag deploys.

In some cases, it says the deployment of the airbag causes the inflator to rupture, report stated.

Volvo in a statement said: “In the event of a crash where the driver airbag is activated, fragments of the inflator inside the airbag may, in certain cases, project out and in worst case strike you, potentially resulting in serious injury or death.”

The company said moisture may seep into the inflator over time and degrade the inflator propellant tablets.

If they start to decompose and form dust particles, it can increase the pressure inside the inflator when the bag deploys. The pressure can essentially cause the inflator to explode, the company said.

In comparison with the Takata inflators, report noted very similar conditions caused the problem with Takata airbags in older vehicles.

Exploding Takata airbag inflators have killed at least 28 people worldwide and at least 19 people in the US, while causing dozens of injuries.

Takata declared bankruptcy in 2018, and set up a fund that has paid out millions of dollars to victims.

As recently as May 2021, the fund paid another $46 million to victims and their families, according to report.

The recalls, which took place over a number of years, involved several different automakers, with Honda being among the largest customers.

Earlier this year, General Motors (GM) filed recall documents with the NHTSA in response to the agency’s petition that it recall vehicles with airbag inflators that could explode.

According to Volvo, the airbag inflators subject to its recall were supplied by Sweden-based AutoLiv and German auto supplier ZF.

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