Editor's note: Volvo is recalling 7,048 vehicles in China. Volvo updated an earlier statement that incorrectly attributed those recalled vehicles to Canada. There are no vehicles being recalled in Canada.
WASHINGTON — Volvo said Tuesday it is recalling more than 460,000 older models globally for potentially defective driver-side airbags that have been linked to one death.
The recall includes about 259,383 vehicles in the U.S., 7,048 in China and 2,475 in Mexico. The affected vehicles are the S80 sedan from the 2001 to 2006 model years and the S60 sedan from the 2001 to 2009 model years, according to a document posted to NHTSA's website.
The driver-side airbag inflators in those vehicles may explode during deployment, increasing the risk of sharp metal fragments striking the driver or other vehicle occupants and resulting in injury or death.
The airbags contain a certain propellant that can degrade over time after long-term exposure to high temperatures and humidity.
Airbag inflators "exposed to critical environments — hot and humid — frequently during its lifetime are at highest risk," according to the NHTSA document.
Volvo said it is aware of one rupture incident, which resulted in a death.
The inflator manufacturer is German auto supplier ZF Friedrichshafen, the recall report states. Autoliv is the airbag assembly manufacturer.
Volvo spokesman Thomas McIntyre Schultz said the automaker in November previously issued a safety recall for nearly 124,000 first-generation S60 and S80 sedans from the 2001 to 2003 model years following a 2018 accident involving the airbag inflator. Volvo said it was informed of the accident in mid-2019.
“Our investigations have shown that this is a problem that may develop over time,” he said. “To avoid further risks, we have decided to extend the scope (of the recall).”
Tony Sapienza, a spokesman for ZF’s North American operations, confirmed there are no other automakers that received an inflator using this particular propellant in the U.S.
“We are aware of Volvo’s decision to recall these vehicles and are continuing to work closely with NHTSA and Volvo to investigate this issue,” the company said in a statement to Automotive News.