Volvo recalls 460K cars globally over fatal air-bag issue

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Swedish carmaker Volvo is recalling more than 460,000 cars around the world because of a risk that a component in air bags could rupture into metal fragments — which has resulted in at least one fatality, the company said.

Volvo is recalling nearly 260,000 cars in the US, the company told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a letter dated Monday.

“The driver’s air bag inflator may explode during deployment, due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to high absolute humidity, high temperatures, and high temperature cycling,” the company wrote to the regulator.

“An inflator explosion may result in sharp metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants, resulting in serious injury or death,” the letter goes on.

The recall applies to two models — the S80 car produced between 2001 and 2006, and the S60 vehicles produced between 2001 and 2009.

Dealers will replace the driver’s air bag for free in affected cars, the company added.

2005 Volvo S60
The recall applies to two models — the S80 car produced between 2001 and 2006, and the S60 vehicles (seen here) produced between 2001 and 2009.
National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

And in a safety recall report submitted to NHTSA, Volvo notified the agency that it’s aware of at least one incident in which someone died.

The defect at the root of the recall is similar to the one that’s plagued air bag inflators produced by Japan-based Takata Corporation.

Over the past decade, more than 67 million Takata air bag inflators have been recalled in the US because the inflators can send deadly metal fragments flying in rare instances. It’s the biggest car safety callback of all time.

There have been at least 37 deaths worldwide, including 19 in the US allegedly linked to the Takata inflators, and more than 400 injuries.

Last month, the NHTSA opened a new investigation into some 30 million cars built by more than 20 automakers with potentially faulty Takata airbag inflators.

Millions of cars that use the potentially deadly airbag components are believed to still be on the road despite efforts to remove them.



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