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VW Resisted Expanded Takata Airbag Recall

According to documents posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Volkswagen initially resisted U.S. efforts to expand the Takata airbag recall. The automaker is recalling roughly 850,000 Audi and VW vehicles in the U.S. In a letter to the safety agency, the automaker cautioned the government’s request to recall most of the VWs may be overly broad. VW noted that a majority of vehicles contain airbag inflators manufactured at Takata Corp.’s facility in Freiberg, Germany.

While VW’s letter noted Takata had problems controlling humidity at its factories in the U.S. and Mexico, the automaker asserted that, as far as it understood, such problems did not occur at the German facility. Takata closed the U.S. facility in 2005, and installed air conditioning at the Mexican plant in 2011. VW further indicated it did not use Mexican-made inflators prior to the 2012 model year.

In the letter, VW noted it felt testing would confirm the safety of inflators from the German plant and those made at the Mexican facility after 2011.

Worldwide, Takata airbags have been responsible for at least 10 fatalities. The airbags can explode with too much force, sending shrapnel into the passenger compartment.