A U.S. Senate report today states that an airbag component shortage, brought about by the record-sized Takata airbag recalls, still has automakers installing defective airbag devices.
Though the devices in question have not actually been recalled, they do not contain moisture absorbing desiccants like newer and safer airbag designs, according to nbcnews.com.
Moisture has been blamed for causing Takata airbag propellants to destabilize and rupture their canisters like grenades in the event of an accident. So far, 10 deaths in the U.S. and over 100 injuries have been blamed on the defect.
The Senate report states that a shortage of replacement parts has led car manufacturers, with the approval of federal regulators, to ‘upgrade’ older airbags in 2.1 million recalled vehicles with the problematic Takata inflators. The report further states that FCA US, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volkswagen are continuing to install defective airbag devices in new vehicles owed to a shortage of replacement parts.
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), said none of these new vehicles should be sold until the older airbag components have been replaced. It’s unclear if any pickups or vans are effected. Only Mitsubishi and Volkswagen has provided information on new vehicles that are still being equipped with the controversial canisters: the 2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, 2017 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, 2016 Volkswagen CC, 2016 Audi TT and 2017 Audi R8.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans on recalling all of the defective airbags by 2018. Around 50 million vehicles in the U.S. with Takata airbag components have been recalled so far. Some vehicles use more than one Takata propellant canister.