Takata Corp., the Japanese air bag maker at the center of one of the largest recalls in automotive history, may have to recall an additional 85 million Takata air bag inflators fitted in U.S. vehicles, according to U.S. auto safety regulators, Reuters reported Wednesday. Currently, Takata is working to replace 28.8 million inflators which could explode with too much force and spray metal shards inside vehicles.
Wednesday’s announcement followed the March 31 death of a 17-year-old driver in Texas from shrapnel wounds after a minor crash deployed the Takata air bag with excessive force. Till now, 11 people have been killed around the world, including 10 in the U.S., in incidents linked to defective Takata inflators.
The company reportedly has till 2019 to demonstrate that an additional 85 million air bags installed in U.S. cars and trucks are safe. Globally, more than 50 million air bags have been recalled by Takata.
Analysts projected that Takata could end up footing a bill of more than $3.5 billion if it was found to be solely responsible for the fault in the inflators. The company reached an agreement with U.S. officials in November to pay a $70 million penalty in a settlement that included a commitment to stop making inflators that use ammonium nitrate by 2018.
So far, 14 automakers have recalled 24 million U.S. vehicles in connection with the defective inflators.