Feds probing potentially defective air bags in over 12 million vehicles

The federal government is probing whether airbags that could fail have been installed in more than 12 million vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which operates under the Department of Transportation, said it opened an investigation into airbag control units in about 12.3 million vehicles made by Kia Motors, Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Honda and Toyota.

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The vehicles being probed have airbags produced by TRW Automotive, which was acquired in 2015 by ZF. The NHTSA said in a summary of its investigation that the airbags could fail in a crash.

“Certain Chrysler, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi and Toyota vehicles are equipped with an air bag control unit produced by TRW (ZF), which could fail during a crash event resulting in non-deployment of air bags and seat belt pretensioners,” the NHTSA said.

An NHTSA spokeswoman told CNN that NHTSA has conducted a preliminary evaluation and is planning an “engineering analysis.”

The spokeswoman, Kathryn Henry, added that the analysis will feature inspections, vehicle tests and surveys, CNN reported. 

The NHTSA did not immediately return a request for comment to The Hill.

ZF, which also did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill, told CNN in a statement that ZF “is committed to motor vehicle safety.”

“ZF proactively notified NHTSA and vehicle manufacturers following initial observations of electrical overstress damage to airbag control units in certain vehicles in the field and has worked diligently with them since it was first discovered to understand this complex issue,” the company added. 

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