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US asks Ford to recall 3 million Takata airbags

NEW YORK: US regulatory agencies on Tuesday ordered Ford to recall 3 million vehicles containing Takata airbags that show signs of “a potential crash risk in the future.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rejected an appeal from the US auto giant and mandated a recall of six vehicles in the 2007 to 2012 model years, including the Ford Ranger and Ford Fusion.

The NHTSA confirmed 18 deaths in the United States from Takata airbag explosions and hundreds of additional injuries.

The agency rejected a petition from Ford to find an “illogical” finding regarding Takata airbags in the automaker’s fleet, and in its decision said Ford had provided “insufficient” evidence for the “extraordinary” relief requested.

“Given the seriousness of the consequences of decomposition of propellants in the airbag inflator – rupture of the blower and metal splinters sprayed onto vehicle occupants – the result of safety insignificance requires unusually strong and convincing evidence,” the NHTSA said.

Ford’s presentation “has several shortcomings, both when the evidence is assessed individually and fully, to demonstrate that the defect in inflating a Ford hooded bellows is not significant or otherwise could be ignored as a safety issue.”

The agency gave Ford 30 days to establish a schedule to notify vehicle owners and repair vehicles.

The NHTSA also announced that it had rejected a similar petition from Mazda, forcing a recall of about 5,800 vehicles.

Tuesday’s decision came on the heels of a November result against GM that required 5.9 million cars with Takata airbags to be recalled after a similar analysis.

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