The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigated airbags manufactured by ZF-TRW and then found them defective. More than 12.3 million vehicles manufactured by Toyota, Fiat, Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Honda, Hyundai, and Kia are affected. The model years are 2011 to 2019.
While Takata Airbags inflators sent shrapnel into the vehicle compartment, causing bags to deflate and injure occupants, the ZF-TRW control units (called ACUs) failed to inflate the bag. Moreover, the manufacturer did not tell consumers of this danger, even though critics believe it knew as far back as 2011.
The issue finally came to light in 2019. It was cited as the cause of at least eight deaths with numerous other injuries. The first recall occurred in 2016 when Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.9 million vehicles, Kia recalled 507,000 automobiles, and Hyundai recalled 155,000 Sonata models. Go here for a full list of vehicle models and years.
According to the NHTSA, the ACU is supposed to sense whether it needs to deploy when there is a crash severe enough that the bags could prevent or lessen injury. The ACUs contain a circuit that evaluates and monitors vehicle sensors to determine if they should trigger the bags. It is believed that the malfunction was caused by electrical stress damaging the circuit and prevented it from deploying.
Legal action may be necessary
There is currently a class action against ZF-TRW here in the United States, and more vehicles may get recalled. It is essential to check to see what vehicles are on the list and have the dealers do repairs free of charge. If the dealers and manufacturers dispute that the work is needed, owners may need to take legal action.