(Adds Takata statement, background on deaths)
Dec 9 The U.S. Department of Transportation on
Friday said it will press the auto industry to accelerate the
pace of replacements for defective Takata Corp air bag
inflators and signaled a likely widening of the industry's
largest ever recall.
U.S. officials now say at least 184 people have been injured
in incidents involving potentially deadly Takata air bags.
On a conference call with reporters, the department said
the Takata recall would eventually include about 42 million U.S.
vehicles and between 64 million and 69 million air bag inflators
in the United States.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
which is part of the Transportation Department, issued a list on
Friday of all vehicle models from 19 automakers that are
involved in the Takata recalls. New to the list is the Tesla
Motors Inc Model S, with the recall affecting certain
cars from the 2012 to 2016 model years.
About 12.5 million of the 46 million air bag inflators
already recalled have been replaced so far, NHTSA said.
Takata spokesman Jared Levy said in a statement the company
backed "NHTSA's efforts to accelerate the Coordinated Remedy
Program and target a 100 percent recall completion rate." Levy
said Takata "has dramatically ramped up production and capacity
of airbag replacement kits in advance of the increased demand
that will come as additional recalls take effect."
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida complained about the
slow pace of the recall in a statement on Friday, saying it
meant that many of the faulty air bags will not be replaced
until next decade. Under the current schedule, some air bag
replacement parts do not need to be available until September
"Drivers should not have to wait that long to get what could
be a ticking time bomb out of their cars," Nelson said.
U.S. safety regulators have linked 11 deaths in the United
States to Takata air bags that ruptured, sending metal shrapnel
flying inside vehicles.
Worldwide, at least 16 deaths are now linked to the
defective air bag inflators including five in Malaysia. Nearly
100 million Takata air bag inflators have been ordered to be
Nine of the 11 U.S. deaths have been reported in 2001-2003
Honda Motor Co and Acura vehicles, which NHTSA
classified in June as high risk. The agency has urged owners to
stop driving the vehicles immediately, until they get repaired.
The 313,000 vehicles identified in June have as high as a 50
percent chance of a dangerous rupture in a crash, NHTSA said.
(Reporting by David Shepardson and Bernie Woodall; Editing by