VW Reluctantly Announces Recall for Vehicles with Takata Airbag Inflators

VW Reluctantly Announces Recall for Vehicles with Takata Airbag Inflators
Image: Audi
February 23, 2016

Volkswagen is the latest automaker to issue a Takata-related recall, but the announcement is a little different than the rest.

The company issued two recalls for about 680,000 vehicles built with defective Takata inflators. Upon deployment of the front driver-side airbag, excessive internal pressure may cause the inflator to rupture with metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

Takata airbag inflators have caused at least 10 deaths and 139 injuries worldwide.

A letter sent from Volkswagen to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), however, indicates that the move was made reluctantly.

"Volkswagen believes that the Takata Defect Report filed on January 25, 2016 may be overboard as applied to inflators installed in Volkswagen vehicles," wrote Christopher T. Sandvig, VW's General Manager of Group Customer Protection.

The company claims that the inflators in its vehicles do not put drivers in harm's way. While the majority of VW vehicles with Takata inflators were produced in its Freiburg (Germany) plant, all known field ruptures have occurred in vehicles produced in the LaGrange (USA) or Monclava (Mexico) plants. According to the letter, inadequate air conditioning and humidity controls were to blame for the defective parts.

VW's letter states that the, "Freiburg plant does not suffer from the same deficiencies. The Freiburg plant has featured air conditioning with appropriate monitoring, 100 percent weld surveillance, and a high degree of automation."

A small percentage of the listed VW vehicles were produced in Monclava, but this production took place after improvements to the manufacturing environment were made.

The manufacturer requested that NHTSA, "revisit the scope" of the recalls.

Recalled vehicles include:

  • 2006 VW Passat sedans and wagons
  • 2007-2010 VW Passat sedans and wagons
  • 2009-2014 VW CC
  • 2010-2014 VW Golf and Jetta SportWagen
  • 2012-2014 VW Eos
  • 2012-2014 VW Passat sedan
  • 2005-2013 Audi A3
  • 2006-2009 Audi A4 Cabriolet
  • 2009-2012 Audi Q5
  • 2010-2011 Audi A5 Cabriolet