— While millions of consumers are waiting for their vehicles to be repaired to keep Takata airbags from exploding, another set of consumers may be surprised to learn buying a new car doesn't mean the problems are solved.
With the recent expansion of another 35-40 million vehicles that will be recalled, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says some of those vehicles aren't exactly old.
The thinking behind selling new cars with airbags that will no doubt be recalled comes down to age. Based on internal tests from Takata and input from scientists hired by 10 automakers, the airbags that have exploded did so in older vehicles.
Aerospace manufacturer Orbital ATK concluded the airbags explode because of age, humidity, the metal inflators and the explosive chemical inside those inflators.
The chemical, ammonium nitrate, can become unstable when moisture seeps into the metal inflators. High humidity creates the moisture which affects the ammonium nitrate, causing the chemical to explode the metal inflator like a grenade. Scientists believe the age of the inflators is a huge factor, something that seems to be true because no airbags have exploded in newer vehicles.
NHTSA says automakers should tell consumers if any new cars are equipped with Takata airbags that will eventually be recalled, but the government admits it can't legally force the issue.
Toyota / Takata Airbags
Toyota says 175,000 Takata-equipped vehicles will be manufactured by July and at first the automaker failed to mention which vehicles were involved. That stance changed after congressional leaders spoke up and asked Toyota to provide the model names.
In addition to naming the affected vehicles, Toyota told its dealers to inform potential buyers about the airbags and how they will eventually be recalled and replaced by 2019.
- 2016 Toyota 4Runner
- 2016 Lexus GX 460
- 2015 Lexus IS 250C and 350C
- 2015 Scion xB
Volkswagen / Takata Airbags
Volkswagen is adding to its emissions disasters by selling new vehicles that will need to be recalled to replace the Takata airbags. VW says buying one of these vehicles means a trip back to the dealer to have the airbags repaired.
- 2016 Audi TT
- 2017 Audi R8
- 2016 Volkswagen CC
Mitsubishi / Takata Airbags
Mitsubishi, the automaker embroiled in a fuel economy scandal overseas, says its 2016-2017 i-MiEV electric cars contain problematic Takata airbags that will eventually be recalled.
Fiat Chrysler / Takata Airbags
Chrysler says it knows of one model still sold with Takata airbags that will be recalled, but the automaker hasn't announced which model is affected.