General Motors to recall nearly 6M trucks with Takata air bag inflators

Officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Monday ordered General Motors to recall and repair almost 6 million pickup trucks and SUVs equipped with Takata air bag inflators.

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The automaker previously petitioned the NHTSA four times to avoid a recall, which will cost the company an estimated $1.2 billion, The Associated Press reported. Tens of millions of vehicles using Takata air bags have been recalled in recent years due to a potentially deadly defect that can cause the air bags to explode when deployed.

In a statement obtained by ABC News, officials with General Motors said they disagreed with NHTSA’s decision.

“Although we believe a recall of these vehicles is not warranted based on the factual and scientific record, NHTSA has directed that we replace the airbag inflators in the vehicles in question,” the statement said.

“Based on data generated through independent scientific evaluation conducted over several years, we disagree with NHTSA’s position. However, we will abide by NHTSA’s decision and begin taking necessary steps.”

In a notice issued Monday, NHTSA officials said the agency “has been offered no persuasive reason to think that without a recall, even if current owners are aware of the defect ... subsequent owners of vehicles equipped with GMT900 air bag inflators would be made aware of the issue.”

“This is not the type of defect for which notice alone enables an owner to avoid the safety risk,” officials said in the notice. “A remedy is required.”

Officials with GM will have 30 days to submit a proposed schedule to notify affected vehicle owners and begin remedying the issue.

As of January, 16 people in the U.S. have died due to defective Takata air bags, according to a report released by the NHTSA. At least 250 people are believed to have been injured by the air bags.

Nineteen vehicle manufacturers, including GM, have issued recalls because of Takata air bags, which have a design defect that affects the propellent used in the devices. The defect can cause air bag inflators to over-pressurize, “causing sharp metal fragments (like shrapnel) to penetrate the airbag and enter the vehicle compartment,” NHTSA officials said.

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