Automakers Release Results of Takata Airbag Investigation

A group of 10 automakers has released a report on the causes of the Takata airbag scandal. The study was commissioned by the Independent Testing Coalition (ITC) and testing was carried out by Orbital ATK, an aerospace and defense contractor.

The tests identified three factors leading to the exploding airbags – the use of ammonium nitrate as the airbag’s propellant, the construction of the inflator assembly and increased exposure to heat and humidity.

Specifically, the inflator assemblies failed the protect the chemical propellant from moisture, which when subjected to humidity and temperature swings could over time cause the propellant to explode when the airbags deployed, sending the shrapnel into the cabin which caused injuries and deaths.

Takata issued a statement that confirmed the findings as consistent with their own testing and of that done by the Fraunhofer Group, a German scientific research organization that has also been investigating the defective airbags.

The ITC, formed in early 2015 in response to the dangerous airbags, consists of representatives from Toyota, Honda, Fiat Chrysler, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Subaru. All of these manufacturers produce cars which used Takata airbags, and were all affected by the recalls.

In addition, the NHTSA announced Monday that they were considering issuing recalls for 90 million additional airbag inflators.

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