WASHINGTON -- Eight automakers said today they are recalling more than 12 million U.S. vehicles for defective Takata airbags, expanding the largest-ever auto safety push, documents posted by U.S. regulators showed.
Honda Motor Co. is recalling 4.5 million U.S. vehicles while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling 4.3 million, according to the documents. The new recall is focused on passenger-side airbag inflators, while prior recalls were for all frontal inflators.
Japan's Takata Corp. declared 14 million inflators defective in the first phase of its latest recall, and the Friday notice is largely included in that total.
Takata earlier this month agreed to declare as many as 40 million additional airbag inflators defective by 2019 in a move that will involve recalls by 17 automakers.
Takata inflators can explode with too much force and spray metal shrapnel into vehicle passenger compartments. The defective airbag inflators have been linked to at least 13 deaths and more than 100 injuries worldwide. The vehicles being recalled were built between 2002 and 2011 and include pickups, SUVs and cars.
Separately, Takata is in bailout talks with a number of potential investors including private equity firm KKR & Co., several news outlets reported Thursday.
Takata and the automakers say there are no reports of any ruptures involving the vehicles in the latest recall. They are prioritized by the car's age and the risk of exposure to high humidity. As a result, some owners may not get replacement inflators for several years.
Automakers worldwide had previously recalled about 50 million vehicles with Takata inflators.
More automakers are expected to issue notices in the coming days.
Before Friday, 14 automakers led by Honda had recalled 28.8 million inflators affecting 24 million U.S. vehicles. At least 2.3 million of the 12 million vehicles in the latest recall were subject to previous notices related to driver airbags.
Toyota Motor Corp. has told regulators it is recalling 1.65 million vehicles while Subaru is recalling nearly 400,000 vehicles in the United States.
The two automakers said they include some discontinued Saab and Pontiac vehicles assembled for General Motors.
Fiat Chrysler said Friday it is recalling 933,000 vehicles sold in Canada, Mexico and outside North America for Takata inflators. It told the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the second phase of the Takata expansion would include 660,000 U.S. vehicles.
Mazda Motor Corp. is recalling about 730,000 U.S. vehicles while Nissan Motor Co. is recalling 400,000.
Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is recalling about 38,000 2006-2007 Lancer vehicles and Ferrari NV is calling back 2,800 U.S. sports cars.
Automakers face challenges obtaining enough replacement parts and getting owners to repair their cars. Through May 20, just 8.5 million inflators have been replaced.
More to come
Takata may face still more vehicle recalls.
Under a November agreement with NHTSA, it agreed to phase out the volatile chemical ammonium nitrate used in the recalled inflators.
Takata could be required by 2019 to recall another 50 million U.S. inflators with ammonium nitrate unless Takata can prove they are safe under the NHTSA agreement.
In November, Takata agreed to pay a $70 million fine for safety violations.
The embattled Japanese supplier faces an ongoing U.S. criminal investigation as well as class-action lawsuits and suits filed by the state of Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Meanwhile, Japan's transport ministry said automakers will recall about an additional 7 million cars equipped with Takata airbag inflators without a drying agent by March 2019, bringing the total recalled in Japan to 19.6 million cars.
Japan's latest announcement may further ramp up Takata's potential recall costs if the airbag maker is found to be responsible for the defective inflators.
The transport ministry said Takata and automakers had found the absence of desiccants could make ammonium nitrate used in the airbag inflators deteriorate when exposed to temperature changes over a long period of time.
The ministry said that the latest recall covers mainly passenger-side airbags, and will be conducted in phases. It would not comment on which automakers were affected, although it said that the number would likely increase from the 17 companies affected so far.
The ammonium nitrate-based propellant used in the inflators have a tendency to explode violently in hot, humid conditions, spraying metal shrapnel into vehicle compartments.