The industry-wide Takata airbag recall isn’t over yet. Federal regulators say an amazing 85 million more Takata airbags in the United States could face a recall unless the Japanese manufacturer can prove that they’re safe. That’s in addition to the 28.8 million airbags that have already been recalled in the U.S. alone.
The new number is a major blow to safety-minded drivers, as many have hoped that the Takata recall has already reached critical mass. About a dozen people globally have already been killed by the defective airbags, which can send shards of metal inside a vehicle after they deploy in a collision. The recall has already affected vehicles from a wide range of brands — including Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan and Toyota — though no automaker has been affected more than Honda, whose vehicles include a large share of the recalled airbags.
As for the 85 million figure, that’s the number of Takata airbags left in vehicles that would need to be recalled unless the company can demonstrate that they’re safe. Federal regulators have given Takata until 2019 to prove their safety.
Not surprisingly, the recall, which is expected to cost billions of dollars to Takata and, potentially, automakers, has prompted some car companies to cease using Takata airbag inflators altogether. Honda and Toyota, two of Takata’s largest customers, have already announced they won’t use any Takata airbags in new vehicles.