U.S. Demands ARC Airbag Recall

U.S. Demands ARC Airbag Recall

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently called for the recall of 67 million airbag inflators due to a perceived safety defect. The agency argues that when these inflators rupture, they can project dangerous metal fragments instead of properly inflating the attached airbag. This action has sparked a heated debate in the automotive industry. In response, auto supplier ARC Automotive Inc. has rejected the NHTSA’s ARC airbag recall request.

Why the NHTSA Is Pushing for an ARC Airbag Recall

The NHTSA believes these airbag inflators pose an unreasonable risk of death or injury to vehicle occupants. The safety of ARC airbags has been in question since 2015, when the NHTSA first began investigating them. These airbag inflators allegedly explode upon impact rather than safely inflating the airbag. Instead of protecting passengers during an accident, the airbags send metal shrapnel flying at the occupants. Reports of death, lacerations, punctures, and slashed arteries have prompted the public to seek an ARC airbag recall.

Individuals are filing ARC airbag lawsuits over injuries and deaths allegedly caused by the faulty airbag inflator.

Vehicles With Defective ARC Airbags

Over 67 million ARC airbag inflators have been produced over the course of 18 years. At least twelve vehicle manufacturers have used ARC airbags in approximately 50 car models, including:

  • Chevrolet
  • Buick
  • GMC
  • Ford
  • Toyota
  • Stellantis
  • Volkswagen
  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Porsche
  • Hyundai
  • Kia

The exact number of vehicles with ARC airbag inflators is unknown. Neither ARC Automotive nor the NHTSA have released a definitive list of vehicles containing the airbag inflators. Due to this uncertainty, several automakers are conducting investigations to determine what models and how many cars are affected. GM has already initiated a recall of nearly 1 million sport utility vehicles with airbag modules produced by ARC Automotive. The GM recall covers 994,763 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia vehicles manufactured between 2014 and 2017.

Auto Supplier Opposes ARC Airbag Recall

Despite two deaths and multiple reports of injuries linked to ARC airbags, the company has denied any problems with its inflators. A Canadian woman was killed in 2016 while driving her Hyundai Elantra after the ARC inflator ruptured, pelting her with metal shrapnel. In 2021, a mother of 10 died after her Chevrolet Traverse SUV containing an ARC inflator was involved in a minor crash.

ARC Automotive has announced that no rupture has occurred across several field tests. The company sent a letter to the NHTSA refuting its demands for an ARC airbag recall. ARC argued that it is the automakers’ responsibility to initiate lot-specific recalls. The company contends that no automaker has found a defect common to all 67 million inflators. Instead, ARC believes the airbag problems stem from the manufacturing process, not a defect with the inflator.

The NHTSA clarified that both ARC Automotive and automakers are responsible for recalls. The agency could take ARC Automotive to court if the company refuses to budge and issue an ARC airbag recall.