Takata Airbag Recall, the Largest in U.S. History, Progressing Slowly

The latest auto recall in the U.S. is taking a tumultuous turn, with reported slow progress replacing airbags for all affected customers.

To date, only 43 percent (18.5 million) airbag inflators have been replaced. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are 34 million vehicles under recall for 46 million of the faulty Takata airbags. To date, almost 200 people have been injured, with 19 killed. In total the recall has affected almost two dozen manufacturers.

The issue stems from the chemical used to fill airbags in a crash, ammonium nitrate, and its tendency to deteriorate when exposed to high temperatures. This, in turn, causes the air bag's metal canister to explode and send shrapnel flying.


As a result of the lack of progress, automakers have taken unprecedented steps to track down affected owners. One example is Honda's use of Facebook to match recalled VINs with Facebook UserIDs to display a warning message upon logging in on the Facebook feed. Other methods include the traditional mailer distribution and commercials.

As for Takata, they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year, with total projected liabilities estimated to be around $15 billion according to one Japanese financial analyst. A $1.6 billion purchase by Key Safety Systems has overseen the creation of separate business units, one of which involves the brand's "non-toxic" assets.

To view a completed list of all affected makes and models, visit the NHTSA's recall page.