General Motors wants U.S. safety regulators to allow it to postpone the recall of about 1 million vehicles, as the autos are packing the infamous airbags built by Takata.
The car manufacturer says that these airbag models are free from the risks that have plagued similar devices installed by other car brands, such as Toyota.
In August, reports indicated that Takata airbags from Toyota vehicles were linked to at least 100 injuries and no less than 14 deaths.
GM came in front of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Friday, Sept. 16, and claimed that its internal tests prove that the inflators are safe from rupture risk. The car maker purchased and deployed 44,000 Takata airbags in its vehicles, and the company underlines that none ruptured.
According to the carmaker, its "unique design features" prevent the unfortunate rupturing of the airbag inflators, making the safety devices ... well, even safer. GM contracted a specialist to carry on an aging study of the inflators, and the duration for the completion of the testing will take about a year.
The automaker says that its cooperation with the NHTSA proves that it is making a priority out of customer safety. GM states that it is striving to understand how the Takata inflators behave when installed in its vehicles, and it deploys "a systematic, engineering-based approach" for that.
The company underlines that it is involved in a constant feedback flux with the regulator.
An order from the NHTSA asked for the recall of every vehicle equipped with inflators that have propellants based on ammonium nitrate and that lack a desiccant.
For GM, this would mean that a whopping 980,000 SUVs and full-size pickups would have to be called back by the end of this year. However, the carmaker wants to push the scheduled recall to the end of 2017 to conclude its testing.
Takata and NHTSA previously inked a consent order that stipulates that a car manufacturer is able to ask for a modification of the recall schedule. After a company publishes the request in the Federal Register, a comment period of two weeks begins.
The Takata scandal caused nearly 70 million airbags from the company to be replaced in a timeframe spanning until 2019. The device recall promises to be the most extended case of its kind in the U.S.
According to the findings of the NHTSA, a cocktail of fluctuating high temperatures, time and exposure to moisture can cause the ammonium nitrate in the inflators to be unstable. As previous cases revealed, when the conditions are met the Takata inflators can explode and cause mortal injuries in the process.