WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) -- A recall of Ford Motor Co. Ranger pickup trucks in the U.S. was expanded to include more flawed Takata Corp. airbags after a fatal accident in Malaysia exposed a defect that wasn’t previously known.
Ford will replace driver’s-side airbags in the 2004 and 2005 model year trucks, not just the passenger airbags, which were the subject of an earlier recall, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statement on Friday.
The action followed an agency review to identify which U.S. cars have airbags similar to one in a Honda Motor Co. vehicle that crashed in Malaysia four months ago -- the first fatality from a ruptured Takata product outside the U.S.
Takata airbags have been under U.S. scrutiny after flaws were identified that can cause them to explode, sending metal shrapnel into drivers and front-seat passengers. Ten automakers, including Honda and Toyota Motor Corp., have recalled more than 11 million U.S. vehicles this year with the flawed protective devices, according to Reuters figures. Globally, more than 17 million vehicles have been recalled, Reuters reports.
“We are aggressively investigating Takata airbags from all affected vehicle manufacturers, and we’re looking at all of the angles in our pursuit of safety,” NHTSA’s deputy administrator, David Friedman, said in a statement.
Takata, a Tokyo-based parts maker, said there aren’t any known incidents involving drivers-side airbag ruptures in the Ford Ranger, according to the NHTSA summary.
The Malaysia crash, on July 27, killed a pregnant woman in a Honda City compact. The airbag was traced to a now-closed plant in LaGrange, Ga.
NHTSA was informed about the Malaysia crash in September, according to a summary the agency released today. Takata told agency investigators the airbag wasn’t used in U.S. vehicles. The Ranger is the only U.S. vehicle known to have an airbag similar to the one made by Takata in the Malaysia crash, the agency said.
Ford had already announced an airbag recall of the Ranger earlier this year, along with the 2005-07 Mustang and the 2005-06 GT sportscar. The recall included 58,669 vehicles -- a number that won’t increase under Friday's announcement.
Under the expanded recall, the front and passenger airbags in the Rangers will be returned to Takata for testing, NHTSA said.
Reuters contributed to this report.