19 million airbags still need repaired

Safety regulators in the US have stated that about 19 million defective Takata Corp air bag inflators remain installed in U.S. vehicles, and that the cause of the problem has yet to be identified.

About 19.2 million vehicles containing a total of 23.4 million air bag inflators made by 11 automakers have been recalled, a NHTSA official said. The inflator figure is higher because about 4 million vehicles have defective Takata air bag inflators on both driver and passenger sides, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official said.

The official briefed reporters on a telephone conference call to update an issue that has been the subject of several US congressional hearings. Takata air bags can explode with too much force, spreading shrapnel throughout the vehicle. Eight deaths have now been linked to the faulty airbags.

Several months ago, the NHTSA had said there were more than 30 million defective air bag inflators in US vehicles. The reduced figure was due in part to double-counting of air bags and vehicles in previous estimates, according to one NHTSA official.