Apparently Continental didn’t’ want Takata to have all the airbag defect fun, because the parts supplier is about to be at the center of a massive recall of its own. At least this time the airbags won’t shoot razor sharp shrapnel at drivers, but it’s a serious problem that everyone needs to know about.
The Associated Press is reporting that Continental Automotive Systems alerted U.S. regulators of a problem with moisture penetrating some airbag control computers. Once this happens, corrosion buildup causes a power failure and the airbags don’t deploy in a crash, or they could randomly deploy when the vehicle hasn’t been in an accident.
According to the official documents Continental filed with the government, the airbag problem first surfaced back in the beginning of 2008. The parts supplier continued to investigate the issue, learning of two vehicles, one a Fiat Chrysler and the other a Mercedes, where the airbags deployed randomly. In 2015 Honda said that two 2008 Accords were in crashes where the airbags didn’t activate, causing injuries. Fiat Chrysler has reported 7 injuries resulting from the defect.
The upcoming recall will affect several brands. Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Fiat Chrysler have already issued their own recalls, which are in various states. According to the Associated Press report, Honda is recalling 364,787 2008-2010 Accords, but parts won’t be available to fix the problem until the fall. Fiat Chrysler will recall 112,000 2009 Dodge Journeys, plus all 2008-2009 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans, with no announced repair schedule. Mercedes-Benz is one step ahead, having already recalled 126,260 2008-2009 C-Class models plus 2010 GLK 350s last October.
About 5 million vehicles will be part of the wider recall, which pales in comparison to the roughly 24 million cars in the U.S. that have been recalled as part of the Takata airbag issue, making it the single largest automotive recall in the country’s history.