What's the Problem with Ford Air Bags?
The potentially defective airbag inflators were made by ARC Automotive Inc. and Delphi Automotive Systems from 2001 to January 2018, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As the airbags continued to rupture, the agency's Office of Defects Investigation requested that the inflators be recalled in April 2023.
However, ARC Automotive denied the request, stating that the NHTSA lacked "sufficient evidence" that there was a safety defect with the airbag inflators and that the 7 confirmed injuries linked to the devices were "occasional or isolated failures that are an inevitable part of any volume manufacturing process.”
In November 2019, Delphi Automotive Systems was acquired by Autoliv ASP, Inc., which may not be liable for the airbag inflators made before their acquisition. NHTSA hasn't confirmed whose legal responsibility it would be, but the burden may fall on the automakers who used the inflators.
Related Article: Malfunctioned Airbags Recall Lawsuit Update
What Caused the Airbag Failures?
The NHTSA says a weld slag is the likely culprit behind the airbag ruptures. When the weld slag gets dislodged, it can block the inflator's exit orifice when the airbag deploys, causing the inflator to rupture due to over-pressurization. This has the potential to shoot metal debris from the inflator into the vehicle's cabin at high speed, causing severe injuries or death to the driver and/or passengers.
Which Vehicles Were the Defective Airbags Installed in?
The potentially defective airbag inflators were installed in vehicles at the following manufacturers:
- Ford Motor Company
- BMW of North America, LLC
- Stellantis Automotive
- General Motors LLC
- Hyundai Motor America, Inc.
- Kia America, Inc.
- Maserati North America, Inc.
- Mercedes-Benz USA LLC
- Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
- Tesla Inc.
- Toyota Motor North America, Inc.
- Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.
Injuries Prompting the Airbag Recall
At least 7 injuries and 1 death in the United States have been linked to potentially defective airbag inflators, according to the NHTSA. The agency is also aware of at least 2 incidents outside the U.S. − an airbag inflator that ruptured in Turkey but caused no injuries, and 1 that caused the death of a driver in China.
Airbag Injury Timeline
- January 2009 - A driver in Ohio was severely injured after the airbag inflator ruptured on his 2002 Chrysler Town and Country minivan.
- April 2014 - A driver in New Mexico suffered injuries to his face and legs after his driver's side airbag inflator ruptured in his 2004 Kia Optima.
- September 2017 - A Pennsylvania driver sustained injuries to the head and face after the driver's side airbag inflator ruptured in his 2010 Chevrolet Malibu.
- August 2021 - A Michigan driver was killed after the driver's side airbag inflator ruptured in a 2015 Chevrolet Traverse.
- October 2021 - A driver-side airbag inflator in a 2015 Chevrolet Traverse ruptured in Kentucky, resulting in facial injuries to the driver.
- December 2021 - A California passenger and driver were both injured after the passenger-side airbag inflator ruptured in a 2016 Audi A3 e-Tron.
- March 2023 - The airbag inflator on the driver's side in a 2017 Chevrolet Traverse ruptured in Michigan, causing the driver facial injuries.
Ford Settles Takata Airbag Lawsuits for Nearly $300 Million
In July 2018, Ford agreed to a so-called "economic loss settlement" of $299.1 million covering at least 6 million vehicles that were equipped with potentially faulty Takata airbag inflators, according to Reuters [1.].
The settlement covers economic damages associated with the defective inflators, including claims that vehicles were inaccurately marketed to be safe, buyers had overpaid for cars with defective airbags and were forced to pay out of pocket costs to deal with recalls.
Additionally, the settlement covered out-of-pocket costs, including lost wages and child care costs, to get vehicles repaired. Per details of the settlement, Ford also provided free rental or loaner vehicles to owners of recalled vehicles who were awaiting repairs when parts were not available.
See all related product liability lawsuits our attorneys covered so far.
Get a Free Ford Airbag Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
The Products Liability Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Ford Airbag Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one was injured by an exploding Ford airbag, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.