ARC Airbag Recall

Here’s What You Need to Know

In September 2023, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sent a notice to ARC Automotive Inc. (“ARC”) requesting that the company recall 52 million of its airbags manufactured between 2000 and 2018. This was the NHTSA’s second attempt, as ARC had refused a similar request earlier in the year. Here is the latest on the ARC airbag recall:

The ARC Airbag Recall: History and Overview

The NHTSA began looking into safety concerns involving ARC’s airbags in 2015. On July 13 of that year, the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation opened an inquiry into “an alleged safety defect in hybrid, toroidal inflators designed and manufactured by ARC for use in vehicles sold or leased in the United States.” According to the NHTSA, this investigation was prompted by reports of airbag inflator ruptures in a 2002 Chrysler Town & Country and a 2004 Kia Optima.

The following year, the NHTSA identified a fatal crash involving a 2009 Hyundai Elantra that involved an ARC airbag. According to the NHTSA, an airbag rupture caused by a defective inflator was responsible for the victim’s death. At that time, ARC acknowledged that “the ruptured inflator was substantially similar to the inflator at issue in the prior Kia Optima rupture in that the inflators underwent the same assembly and manufacturing process.”

Subsequently, the NHTSA received confirmation of five additional ARC airbag ruptures in the United States from vehicle manufacturers. This led to the NHTSA first issuing a request for a widespread recall in April 2023. However, ARC denied the request, arguing that these incidents reflected “one-off” scenarios that were properly addressed through lot-specific recalls conducted through the vehicles’ manufacturers. Upon receiving ARC’s denial, the NHTSA continued its investigation, which led to the following conclusion stated in its second recall request issued in September 2023:

“NHTSA has made an initial decision . . . that the subject inflators contain a safety-related defect. Air bag inflators that rupture when commanded to deploy are plainly defective, as they both fail to protect vehicle occupants as they should, and, themselves, pose an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death to occupants. . . . This defect poses an unreasonable risk of injury or death from metal fragments forcibly propelled into the passenger compartment of a vehicle when the inflator ruptures.”

Due to these concerns, the NHTSA has requested that ARC recall its airbags installed in approximately 52 million vehicles. This includes vehicles from the following makes for model years 2000 through 2018:

  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Buick
  • Chevrolet
  • Chrysler
  • Ford
  • General Motors (GMC)
  • Hyundai
  • Kia
  • Maserati
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Porsche
  • Tesla
  • Toyota
  • Volkswagen

In rejecting the NHTSA’s requests, ARC has argued that the “root cause” of the issues with its airbags has not been confirmed—and therefore a widespread ARC airbag recall is unwarranted. However, as explained by the NHTSA, this is “not a reason for delaying a recall.” As the NHTSA goes on to explain, “A determination of a ‘defect’ may be based exclusively on the performance record of the vehicle or component . . . [and] there is no dispute that ARC inflators have repeatedly ruptured” resulting in injuries and death.

Current Status of the ARC Airbag Recall

What is the current status of the ARC airbag recall? As of September 2023, ARC is continuing to fight the NHTSA’s request for a widespread recall of vehicles equipped with the company’s defective airbags. While manufacturers have issued “lot” recalls for certain vehicles, these recalls only cover 6,289 of the approximately 52 million vehicles equipped with potentially dangerous ARC airbags. These recalls include:

To date, there has not been a widespread recall of ARC airbags in spite of NHTSA’s concerns with the company’s defective inflators. However, this does not mean that other vehicles are safe. The NHTSA is pushing for ARC to issue a widespread recall, and the NHTSA’s investigations have revealed several instances of defective ARC airbags exploding during deployment.

Were You or a Loved One Harmed By a Defective ARC Airbag?

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a defective ARC airbag, you should speak with a lawyer promptly. You may be entitled to recover financial compensation through an ARC airbag lawsuit. Our firm handles lawsuits against airbag and automobile manufacturers involving both serious injuries and wrongful deaths. Airbag injury lawyer, David P. Willis is a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer since 1988 and has been representing injured clients against product makers and the automobile manufacturers for 40+ years.

If you have an injury claim related to a defective ARC airbag, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. This is true regardless of whether your (or your loved one’s) vehicle is subject to a recall. A recall is not necessary to file a lawsuit against an airbag or vehicle manufacturer. Our lawyers will provide a thorough assessment of your legal rights; and, if you have a claim, we will fight to recover just compensation on your behalf. This includes compensation not only for your personal injuries, medical bills and other out-of-pocket costs, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, disfigurement and other losses as well.

Talk to a Lawyer About Filing a Claim for a Defective ARC Airbag

For more information about filing an injury lawsuit related to a defective ARC airbag, contact Willis Law Firm Airbag Injury Lawyers. We will arrange for you to speak with a lawyer in confidence as soon as possible. It costs nothing to learn about your legal rights; and, if you have a claim, you pay nothing unless we win. To get started with a free, no-obligation consultation, call us or get in touch online today.