Following the death of a car owner last month, U.S. regulators reported that automakers will recall five million more vehicles equipped with airbags from Takata Corp.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that from 23 million, the total number of recalled vehicles potentially pre-loaded with Takata's exploding airbag inflators is now at 28 million.
The spokesperson of the agency said that in some instances, the cars include both passenger-side and driver-side airbag inflators that need to be fixed. He added that the figure is preliminary and could still change.
He explained that the airbags can burst and spew shrapnel inside the cars' cabins. In December last year, a man in South Carolina died while driving a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup fitted with one of Takata's airbags.
This became the 10th documented death associated with Takata's airbag inflators. This was also the first time a death happened in a vehicle that was not manufactured by Honda.
The NHTSA spokesperson said inspectors verified on Friday that the airbag exploded. The victim's name was not revealed.
"We are saddened to hear about the driver's death and offer our sincere condolences to the family of the driver," said a spokesperson of Ford.
He confessed that at this time, the company has limited information. Nonetheless, he assured that Ford is working together with the NHTSA in reviewing the available details.
"If we find an issue with out vehicles, we will take prompt action to address customer safety," he added.
A spokesperson from Takata also ensured that it is cooperating with U.S. officials regarding the matter. Also, he conveyed his condolences to the family of the driver on behalf of the company.
"We are cooperating fully with regulators and our automotive customers and continue to support all actions that advance vehicle safety, including through our ongoing testing efforts, replacement kit production, and raising consumer awareness of recalled vehicles," he said.
In November, Takata paid out $70 million for neglecting to inform the government about its faulty air bags on time. In addition, it directed the company that by the end of 2018, it must stop making use of phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate in its inflators.
Automakers that are taking part in the recall include Ford, Mazda Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., BMW AG, Volkswagen AG and its Audi unit, Saab and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz unit.