Takata airbag rupture causes fire in Japan

Published: July 8, 2015

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Damian Alonzi

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The already problematic Takata airbags have caused issues for yet another automotive company—this time, Nissan being the victim of the automotive parts company’s defective product.

A 2001 X-Trail crossover is the first reported Nissan vehicle in Japan to have a Takata airbag incident, as its dashboard caught fire when the airbag deployed due to a ruptured inflator on the passenger side. This sent hot shrapnel into the vehicle, causing the driver light burns to the cheek.

This model of the X-Trail has been under Nissan’s Takata recall since April 2013. Nissan urges owners to fix their vehicles as soon as possible.

This product has caused problems in the automotive industry before, having caused the deaths of eight individuals worldwide, as well as affecting numbers of vehicles in the millions, spanning companies such as Nissan, Honda, Dodge/Ram, Ford and BMW, and many more, with estimated numbers no less than 140,000 per automotive company.

Takata believes the cause of this problem relates to moisture seeping into the airbag’s container, causing the airbag’s propellant to become unstable and rupture when the airbag deploys during an accident—sending shrapnel into the affected vehicles, and possibly injuring or killing its occupants.

In May, Nissan added 1.56 million models to the list of recalled vehicles, already having said to have called in 813,000 models in Japan for repair, 85 per cent of which are being repaired there. Furthermore, Nissan would add thousands more for repairs taking place in the U.S. and Canada.

The repairs taking place in the United States, however, lies at a much lower rate than those of Japan. A Congressional hearing, having taken place in early June, states that the Takata recall will take months to fully implement, as well as additional years to properly fix.

Takata has been producing approximately one million repair kits per month to do their part in fixing this problem. This amount does not help the United States, as they require kits for 34 million affected vehicles across 11 different automakers.