DETROIT (AP) — Honda has added 4.5 million vehicles in countries outside the U.S. to the growing list of cars and trucks recalled for Takata air bags that could explode with too much force and spew shrapnel at drivers and passengers.
The recall announced Thursday raises to 57.5 million the total number of Takata air bag inflators recalled worldwide. The figure includes 33.8 million inflators in the U.S. affecting 32 million vehicles from 11 automakers including Honda, BMW and Toyota. At Honda alone, the figure is 24.5 million worldwide.
The staggering numbers mean it will take several years for Takata and other air bag makers to produce enough inflators to finish the recalls, leaving potentially dangerous Takata inflators on the road.
Kelley Blue Book Senior Analyst Karl Brauer estimated that it would take four years or longer to make enough inflators to finish all the global recalls, and said that assumes that no further recalls will be announced.
A recent air bag explosion involving a Nissan passenger air bag in Japan shows that more cars could be recalled, Brauer said. The company is the only one that uses ammonium nitrate as a propellant to inflate the air bags.
“I see more and more indications every day that all of those are going to need to be recalled versus only a portion,” Brauer said. “It’s just how long before (the propellant) goes bad seems to be the pattern that we’re seeing.”
During a U.S. Senate hearing last month, Takata Executive Vice President for North America Kevin Kennedy testified that the company had made more than 5 million replacement inflators and it was producing 700,000 more per month. The company has plans to increase that to 1 million inflators monthly by September, and other manufacturers also are making replacements.
But even with the increased production, the U.S. government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in May that it would take more than 2