Owners of 2006 Ford Ranger and Mazda B-series pickups are at such high risk of their Takata airbags exploding and potentially killing them even in a minor accident that they should “immediately” stop driving them, according to the automakers.
More than 32,000 additional vehicles are being recalled to replace both the driver and passenger frontal airbags after Takata told the automakers of an “elevated risk of rupture” compared to the total affected population of 2004 to 2011 Ranger and B-series models. In January, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the automakers recalled 2860 pickups from the 2006 model year after learning that two people in 2006 Ranger pickups were killed from Takata airbag inflators produced on the same day. The additional vehicles have Takata inflators that were produced only on September 3, 2005, while the earlier recall included faulty inflators on that day and on September 5, 2005. A total of 35,515 vehicles have been identified as the most at-risk Ford and Mazda vehicles in the Takata recall. The automakers said they are not aware of any additional injuries or fatalities.
Owners should schedule service appointments with their dealers, who will arrange for tow trucks to bring them in and will provide loaner cars. NHTSA has issued a “do not drive” warning for these models, although it did not estimate the likelihood of their airbags exploding. On certain 2001–2003 Honda and Acura models, according to NHTSA, the Takata airbags have a one-in-two chance of “explod[ing] like a grenade.” At least 22 people have died worldwide from Takata airbags—the majority in Honda models in the United States—with several hundred more people injured.
Takata is also preparing a settlement fund similar to how General Motors paid victims of its defective ignition switches, according to the Reuters news service. The company, which filed for bankruptcy in June 2017 and will be purchased by the Sino-American supplier Key Safety Systems, will pay settlements of “$10,000 for bruising to $5 million for death or loss of eyesight,” Reuters said. The settlement, bankruptcy, and final sale have yet to be approved.