Takata Comes Forward On Air Bag Defects Citing 2008 – 2014 As Affected Years

Airbag maker Takata Corp fessed up that there may be more defective air bags in the wild than previously thought. A defect in the driver-side air bag inflator has already been linked to at least four deaths and over a dozen injuries, along nearly 31,000 recalled vehicles by GM and Nissan, and now Takata is saying that it first began making airbags with the defect as far back as 2008.

The flaw consists of a bad part that could cause the inflator to rupture. If that happens, the airbag explodes with more force than is usual, resulting in metal shards being thrown about inside the vehicle. The defect was uncovered when a Georgia woman sued GM in October 2013 after claiming that a defective driver-side airbag left her blind in one eye.

Image Source: Flickr (Simon Yeo)

NHTSA officials met with Takata last week and has been pressuring the company to meet demand for replacement parts. In response, Takata said it planned on adding two production lines by the beginning of next year. However, that may not be enough to get the job done. According to Reuters, 10 manufacturers have recalled over 10 million vehicles in the U.S. since 2008 with Takata airbags installed.

"It's unclear yet whether that would be sufficient to meet demand," NHTSA said in a 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."

In the meantime, automakers have begun looking for new suppliers, though Takata hasn't contacted any of them yet due to concerns about quality issues.