Ford to Recall 3 Million Vehicles for Air Bag Issues

Ford Motor Co. will recall 3 million vehicles due to a potential airbag inflator issue after being ordered to do so, a decision that will cost the automaker a reported $610 million. CNBC reports that Ford confirmed the filing cost on Thursday, Jan. 21 Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission after the closing bell.

On Tuesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Tuesday ordered Ford to issue the recall, rejecting its 2017 petition to avoid it. The potentially dangerous airbags produced by auto supplier Takata are the driver-side airbag inflators. The defect could lead to a rare case of airbag inflators rupturing and sending potentially deadly metal fragments flying in the vehicle. The airbags use ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion that would inflate the bags in a crash, but regulators discovered that the chemical could deteriorate and cause larger explosions.

The issue prompted the largest automotive recall in US history of more than 67 million inflators and around 100 million worldwide. "We believe our extensive data demonstrated that a safety recall was not warranted for the driver-side airbag. However, we respect NHTSA’s decision and will issue a recall," Ford said, via Yahoo! Finance. The company said its recall would affect approximately 2.7 million vehicles in the U.S. and approximately 300,000 in Canada and other locations.

Affected models include vehicles from model years 2006 through 2012, including Ford Ranger (2007-2011), Fusion (2006-2012), Edge (2007-2010), Lincoln MKZ/Zephyr (2006-2012), MKX (2007-2010) and Mercury Milan (2006-2011) vehicles. Ford will include the recall cost in its fourth-quarter results as a special item, and it will not impact Ford’s adjusted earnings before interest and taxes or adjusted earnings per share.

Takata airbag inflators have resulted in at least 400 injuries and 18 deaths in the US and 27 deaths worldwide. Two of the US fatalities were in previously recalled 2006 Ford Ranger trucks. In addition to the Ford vehicles, the NHTSA required Mazda Motor Corp to recall 5,800 airbag inflators in 2007–2009 B-Series vehicles. In November, the NHTSA rejected a petition filed by General Motors Co. to avoid recalling 5.9 million U.S. vehicles with Takata airbags and ordered the company to recall and repair nearly six million pickup trucks and SUVs that have the inflators.