In the newest chapter of an automotive crisis that began almost a decade ago, defective Takata Corporation air bags are still wreaking havoc, now responsible for a total of 21 deaths worldwide.
Ford Motor Company officials issued an urgent recall in a Jan. 11 press release, advising around 3,000 2006 Ford Ranger truck owners in the U.S. and Canada to get off the road and seek repairs at their nearest dealership. Ford officials issued the recall after learning that exploding, shrapnel-shooting Takata air bags were the cause behind a second fatal Ranger crash. (The other 19 fatalities occurred in Honda Motor Company vehicles.)
Takata is a Japanese parts manufacturer whose defective air bag inflators have led to the largest recall in automotive history. The inflator defect causes Takata air bags to explode in the case of an accident, hurtling metal shards at the driver and passengers.
Ford officials confirmed that ruptured driver-side air bags were to blame for a death in July 2017, as well as a previously reported fatality in January 2016, according to the press release. Both of these cases involved trucks built between August 10, 2005 and December 15, 2005 at Twin Cities Assembly Plant in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which were equipped with the defective Takata air bags.
“We take this matter very seriously and are advising owners of these specific 2006 Ford Rangers to stop driving their vehicles so dealers can make repairs immediately,” Ford officials said in the press release. “Parts are available now, and dealers are prepared to get vehicles directly from customers, make permanent repairs that will resolve the safety risk and provide a free interim loaner vehicle, if necessary.”
Additionally, Ford promised to pay for any fees associated with towing and repairing the vehicles.
Ranger drivers can determine if their truck is affected by entering its vehicle identification number (VIN) on the company website. The Ford reference number for this Ranger recall is 18S02.
The faulty Takata parts forced the Japanese corporation to file for bankruptcy in June 2017 and have affected 19 automakers worldwide, likely leading to more than 125 million total projected vehicle recalls by 2019.