Volvo is one of the most safety-conscious automotive manufacturers around. However, it appears that the Swedish company has the same problem that nearly every other brand has – the airbags can explode and send shrapnel into the cabin. It follows another recall from November 2020 after a driver here in the U.S. was killed by the same defect.
The new recall involves 260,000 older models, including 2001-2006 model year S80 sedans and 2001-2009 model year S60s sedans.
Different manufacturer, but the same problem
While Takata airbags cause the largest recall in history, providing airbags to a number of manufacturers. Volvo, however, was not one of them. It used the still existing ZF/TRW manufacture’s airbags. It was thought that these airbags avoided the defect because they did not use ammonium nitrate that caused the Takata airbags to explode. But it now seems that ZF/TRW’s propellant still can break down when exposed to high heat or humidity.
Officials estimate that the exploding Takata inflators killed at least 19 victims in the U.S. and 28 worldwide. The inflator also injured another 400 victims in the U.S. alone. The Takata defect led to the largest recall in history. It involves the inflators using ammonium nitrate to inflate airbags in a split second. Unfortunately, the chemical breaks down over time due to humidity and high heat. The chemical burns too fast, causing the airbag canister to blow apart.
The letter will be sent in November
The fix will be to install new state-of-the-art airbags in the older vehicles. Volvo claims that the death that caused the 2020 recall is the only case of a ruptured inflator, but it still will send out a letter on November 29, 2021, officially launching the recall. Since this issue now has come to light, Volvo owners and their spouses may have valid grounds for a lawsuit if the malfunctioning airbag caused injuries in the past.