U.S. auto safety regulators have opened an investigation into certain airbag assemblies manufactured by parts supplier Joyson Safety Systems over a defect that could prevent the airbags from properly deploying during a crash.
NHTSA said 256,181 passenger-side airbag assemblies produced by Joyson could be affected. It opened the investigation on Wednesday, April 7, according to a document filed by the agency.
There are no known injuries caused by the defect, NHTSA said. A spokesman for Joyson told Automotive News that the company is unaware of “any instances in the field involving failures of performance related to the conditions associated with the recalls identified in the query.”
NHTSA could not immediately respond to requests for comment by Automotive News Monday.
Joyson's airbag assemblies have been the source of several recalls since 2019 for an issue where the replacement airbag cushions may have been folded incorrectly, which could delay or prevent the airbags from deploying.
Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, General Motors and Nissan previously have issued vehicle recall notices for Joyson's airbag assemblies, citing replacement airbags that may not unfold as designed during a crash.
Toyota’s recall in 2019 and GM’s recall in 2020 involved vehicles that were equipped with specific Takata front passenger-side airbag assemblies, which contain an alternative inflator produced by Joyson and installed as a replacement under a prior recall.
The Nissan recall also involves vehicles that received Joyson’s front passenger-side airbag assemblies as part of a previous Takata airbag recall.
The purpose of NHTSA's equipment query is "to write to Joyson and other companies that might have purchased this equipment from Joyson, notify them of this defect in any vehicles they manufactured and to ensure thorough safety recalls are conducted where appropriated," the agency said.
Joyson — formerly known as Key Safety Systems — purchased defunct airbag maker Takata Corp. for $1.6 billion in 2018. The supplier is based in Auburn Hills, Mich., and is a subsidiary of China's Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp.
Takata was responsible for the largest safety recall in automotive history for defective airbags linked to at least 25 deaths and about 300 injuries. Some Takata airbags were found to explode during an accident, sending shrapnel into the passenger compartment. Some 100 million airbag inflators supplied to 19 automakers have been recalled globally -- roughly 60 million of them in the U.S.