Continental says 5 million vehicles need to be recalled for defective airbags
WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) -- Continental Automotive Systems said five million vehicles need to be recalled to fix their airbag control units, adding to the challenges for an auto industry already struggling to replace millions of faulty airbags made by Takata.
The supplier said the airbags' power-control units may corrode and interrupt electrical connections, causing the devices to either deploy inadvertently or fail to activate, according to filings to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The recalls will include 112,001 vehicles from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and 341,444 Accord sedans from Honda, according to the carmakers' filings to NHTSA. The recalls also include vehicles made by Volkswagen, Mazda, Kia, Volvo trucks and Daimler.
In documents posted Thursday with the NHTSA, Continental Automotive, a unit of Germany-based Continental, said it received a control unit from Daimler in January 2008 after a vehicle owner complained the airbag warning light had illuminated. An investigation found a problem with the control unit that led to a design change in a semiconductor in 2008.
Continental said it built 3 million units from 2006 until the design change and 2 million after it that are covered by the recall. Continental said it did not receive any complaints after another change was made at the end of 2010 and completed in 2011.
The NHTSA opened an investigation in August 2015 after a complaint of a crash in a 2008 Honda Accord in which the airbags did not deploy.
In October, Daimler's Mercedes-Benz USA unit recalled 126,000 C-class sedans from model years 2008 and 2009 and certain 2010 Mercedes GLK crossovers to address the issue.
As a supplier, Continental can recall defective parts, but the automakers must conduct the actual vehicle recalls. "All potentially affected customers were notified immediately and we are in close contact them," a Continental spokeswoman said.
Continental estimates that less than two million of the vehicles are in the U.S.
This is the latest massive recall related to airbag problems. To date, 14 automakers have recalled about 25 million vehicles for airbag inflators made by Takata that could rupture, emitting potentially deadly metal fragments.
Honda said Wednesday it is recalling 341,000 Accord cars from model years 2008-2010 to replace control units linked to failures in Continental systems. At least two injuries are attributed to the defect.
Fiat Chrysler said it is recalling 112,000 vehicles for the same issue, including the 2009 Dodge Journey, 2008-2009 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country and 2009 Volkswagen Routan that it had assembled for the German automaker.
FCA said it is aware of seven potentially related injuries -- all minor -- but no related accidents. It also has reports of as many as 25 inadvertent airbag deployments.
Honda said it has received 1,575 warranty claims, 83 field reports and 2 confirmed injuries related to the defect. It also said there have been 74 injury allegations related to airbags that did not deploy but those aren't confirmed.
Reuters and Automotive News staff contributed to this report.