Detroit - Seven automakers are adding nearly 4.4-million vehicles in the US to the massive Takata airbag inflator recall.
Documents detailing recalls by General Motors, Volkswagen, Ford, Daimler Vans, BMW, Jaguar-Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz were posted on Thursday (June 2, 2016) by the government. Recalls from eight other companies were posted last Friday.
READ: Honda SA issues recall for faulty Takata airbags
Of the recalls announced Thursday, General Motors had the largest total at 1.9-million, covering pickup trucks and large SUVs. The company said in a statement that it would start the recall process in cooperation with the government, even though it doesn't believe the trucks pose an unreasonable safety risk.
The recalls are part of a massive expansion of Takata airbag recalls announced in May. Seventeen automakers are adding 35-million- to 40-million inflators to what already was the largest auto recall in US history.
The latest round of recalls covers passenger airbags mainly in older models in states with high temperatures or humidity.
Takata inflators can malfunction and spew shrapnel into drivers and passengers when exposed to humidity and repeated hot-and-cold cycles.
READ: Takata airbag saga - 12-million more cars recalled
Thursday's recalls bring the total number of vehicles recalled in this round to 16.4-million. The recalls are being phased in during the next three years.
Takata uses ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion that inflates air bags in a crash. But the chemical can deteriorate over time when exposed to high heat and humidity and burn faster than designed. That can blow apart a metal canister, spewing hot shrapnel into vehicles.
The inflators are responsible for at least 11 deaths and more than 100 injuries worldwide
On May 4 2016 Takata agreed to the recall expansion, and more recalls will be announced later. The recalls are being phased in due to a lack of available replacement parts. Models from 2011 or older in high heat and humidity areas will get first priority, followed by 2008 and older models in Southern-tier states, then 2004 and older models in the rest of the country. Research has shown that it takes at least six years for the ammonium nitrate to deteriorate.
On Wednesday (June 1, 2016), a US Senate report found that Fiat Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volkswagen are selling new vehicles with Takata airbag inflators even though the devices are likely to be recalled within a few years. The inflators haven't been recalled yet, so it's legal for the cars to be sold.
READ: Toyota, Nissan issue huge recall in SA
GM is questioning the latest round of recalls, saying that no inflators in its trucks have ruptured during an estimated 44 000 crashes, or in testing of returned inflators. It also says the inflators were uniquely made for GM trucks and SUVs with greater venting and machined steel end caps.
GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said: "We don't have any evidence at this point that these inflators aren't working as designed. We will discuss with NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) what the potential remedies might be."
Wilkinson wouldn't say if GM hopes to avoid a recall, but said the company has been talking with NHTSA.
Before the latest expansion, automakers had recalled 28.8-million Takata inflators, so as many as 69-million could be recalled in the US alone. The numbers have raised concerns about Takata's financial survival.
Since the recalled models vary by state and age, officials say that the best way to see if your car is affected is to go to https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/ and key in the vehicle identification number. It may take several weeks for all the newly recalled vehicles to be entered into the database.
Here are models covered by Thursday's recalls:
General Motors: Certain 2007-2008 Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT, Chevrolet Avalanche, Silverado 1500, Suburban, Tahoe, GMC Sierra 1500, Yukon, and Yukon XL. 2007-2011 Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV and Escalade EXT, Chevrolet Avalanche, Silverado 1500, Suburban and Tahoe, GMC Sierra 1500, Yukon and Yukon XL vehicles. 2009-2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 3500 and GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500.
Ford: Certain 2007-2011 Ford Ranger pickups; 2006-2011 Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln Zephyr/MKZ vehicles; 2007-2010 Ford Edge, Lincoln MKX vehicles; 2005-2006 Ford GT vehicles and 2005-2011 Ford Mustang.
Volkswagen: Certain 2004-2008 Audi A4 and 2005-2011 Audi A6 cars.
Daimler van: Certain 2010-2011 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, 2009-2011 Freightliner Sprinter, and 2009 Dodge Sprinter vans.
Jaguar Land Rover: Certain model year 2007-2011 Land Rover Range Rover SUVs and 2009-2011 Jaguar XF cars.
BMW: Certain 2007-2011 X5 xDrive30i, X5 xDrive35i, X5 xDrive48i, X5 xDrive50i and X5M vehicles. 2009-2011 X5 xDrive35d, 2008-2011 X6 xDrive35i, X6 xDrive50i and X6 M vehicles, and 2010-2011 X6 ActiveHybrid vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz: Certain 2008-2011 C300 Sedan, C300 4matic Sedan, C350 Sedan, C63 AMG Sedan vehicles. 2010-2011 GLK350, GLK350 4-Matic and E350 Coupe vehicles. 2011 SLS AMG, E350 Convertible, E550 Coupe and E550 Convertible vehicles.