U.S. safety regulators and major automakers are expected Friday to announce a new recall of about 5 million vehicles with potentially defective Takata Corp. air bags, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. The move was prompted in part by the death of a driver of a Ford pickup truck last month.
The Dec. 22 death of a Georgia man in South Carolina was the 10th worldwide associated with Takata's air bag inflators, and the first to occur in a vehicle that was not made by Honda Motor Co. A Ford Motor Co. spokesman said the automaker is aware of the reported death.
Twelve major automakers have previously recalled more than 23 million Takata air bag inflators in more than 19 million vehicles in one of the biggest and most complex safety recalls in U.S. automotive history.
It is not clear how many of the 5 million vehicles being recalled Friday may have been covered by previous recalls.
Takata's inflators can explode with too much force and spray metal shrapnel into vehicle passenger compartments and are linked to more than 100 U.S. injuries.
Several automakers are expected to take part in the new recall for two separate types of Takata air bag inflators, including Ford and Honda, the sources said.
A spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Gordon Trowbridge, said the agency would brief reporters later on Friday on Takata developments, declining to elaborate.
A South Carolina attorney said in a complaint filed with NHTSA that his client was killed when "metal from the inflator canister exploded penetrating my client's neck resulting in death."
The attorney, Andrew Creech, said in the complaint, "There is no doubt airbag shrap (shrapnel) metal killed my client, as this has been confirmed by death certificate and autopsy report."
The man killed in the 2006 Ford Ranger struck a cow that was in the road, Creech's report NHTSA said. Creech was not available for comment on Friday.
In November, Takata agreed to pay a $70 million fine for safety violations and could face deferred penalties of up to $130 million under a NHTSA settlement.
NHTSA in December named a former Justice Department official as a monitor to help regulators oversee the massive recalls.
The Ford death is the first reported since the July crash of a 2001 Honda Accord coupe that killed a 13-year-old near Pittsburgh.