WASHINGTON -- A safety flaw in Takata Corp. airbags prompted a new automobile recall even as U.S. regulators questioned whether the company is moving quickly enough to produce replacement parts to repair previously recalled cars.
Nissan Motor Corp. is warning that airbags in 1,848 SUVs could propel metal fragments toward occupants, according to a posting on the U.S. Transportation Department website Friday.
The recall, covering Nissan’s 2013 Infiniti QX56 and 2014 QX80, shows regulators and automakers are still trying to determine the scope of the problem with Takata’s products.
Takata will recall 30,867 SDI-X airbag inflators manufactured from June 16, 2008, to June 20, 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement Saturday.
An incorrect outer baffle could cause the inflator to rupture, potentially inflicting serious injury on vehicle occupants, the agency said. Owners will be notified by vehicle manufacturers.
The part at fault in Friday’s recall is different than the one that had already led to 7.8 million U.S. vehicles being called in for repairs, an effort that was stepped up in recent weeks by federal regulators because of the severity of the defect. That recall includes vehicles from 10 automakers, including Nissan, Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., and is linked to four fatalities.
Unlike the earlier Takata airbag recalls, which involve vehicles from the 2000 through 2008 model years, the new Nissan recall involves recently produced SUVs.
Nissan began investigating flaws with the airbags in June. The company identified potentially defective inflators in U.S. models in October, it said. The company hasn’t identified any injuries that resulted from the flaw.
NHTSA met with Takata on Oct. 30, pressing the company to meet consumer needs for replacement parts. Takata representatives told the safety regulator that it planned to add two production lines by the beginning of next year, according to a NHTSA statement Friday.
“It’s unclear yet whether that would be sufficient to meet demand,” according to the statement. “We’ve requested details in writing, so we can hold them to these commitments and evaluate how much further they may need to go.”
The company agreed to weekly meetings to update regulators on its efforts to speed up production, according to NHTSA.
NHTSA is in talks with other airbag suppliers over whether they can provide replacement parts, according to the statement. Automakers involved in the recalls are also looking for new suppliers, it said.
Takata hasn’t contacted additional airbag suppliers because it’s concerned about “quality issues,” according to the statement, which didn’t elaborate.
Takata agreed to quadruple the number of airbags taken from sample cars for testing to help determine whether the full scope of the defect is known.
After the Oct. 30 meeting, a Takata spokesman, Alby Berman, said the company is fully cooperating with the agency. Berman didn’t immediately respond to an after-hours e-mail seeking comment on Friday’s recall and NHTSA statement.
Takata shares declined 43 percent in Tokyo trading in October to its lowest price in almost two years.
NHTSA on Oct. 30 gave Takata one month to answer 36 questions that may shed light on what led to the airbag recalls. If the agency deems the answers incomplete, Takata faces fines of up to $35 million.
The agency is seeking information on quality control at a factory, the use of contaminated or improperly formulated propellant and a complete accounting of deaths and injuries, according to its legal order.
The Center for Auto Safety, a Washington-based consumer group, has asked NHTSA to look at whether Takata airbags repaired in recalls are safe.
One of the four fatalities linked to the airbags was the driver of a car in Orlando, Fla., that crashed in September. That vehicle should have been repaired -- though it’s not known whether it was -- under a 2011 recall, using newer parts, the center said. NHTSA should expand its investigation to look at all Takata airbags manufactured through 2011, the center’s executive director, Clarence Ditlow, said in an Oct. 30 letter to the agency.
Takata, Autoliv Inc. and TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. are the three leading suppliers of airbag modules, accounting for about three-quarters of global sales combined. Autoliv also makes inflators, as does Tokyo-based Daicel Corp.