Volvo recalls 54,000 U.S. vehicles for air bag defect after one death

FILE PHOTO: A long exposure picture shows cars of Swedish automobile manufacturer Volvo displayed in front of a showroom of Stierli Automobile AG company in St. Erhard, Switzerland April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

(Reuters) – Volvo Cars is recalling 54,000 U.S. vehicles for an air bag defect after one crash death tied to the issue, according to a filing with U.S. regulators.

The unit of Geely Automotive 0175.HK is recalling 2001-2003 model S80 and S60 vehicles sold or registered in high humidity U.S. states because the driver side frontal air bag inflator may rupture, sending metal fragments flying, when the air bag is deployed.

According to the Volvo filing with the government, Volvo will replace the inflators with a modern propellant and inflator. Parts are expected to be available by March.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Saturday it confirmed one person in the United States was killed when a ZF/TRW FG2 twin driver air bag inflator containing the propellant 5AT-148N exploded.

The issue has been the subject of NHTSA and Volvo meetings since August 2019.

The agency said the fatal incident was the only known rupture incident for this type of inflator around the world. NHTSA and Volvo are gathering and reviewing data about other vehicles with this inflator to determine if additional actions are needed, the U.S. agency said.

Volvo did not immediately comment on Saturday.

ZF Group said Saturday it was first notified by Volvo in August 2019 of the incident and it “promptly informed NHTSA and, together with Volvo, began investigating the incident.”

ZF added it “will continue to work closely with NHTSA and Volvo on this issue.”

NHTSA has investigated for years other air bag inflator ruptures.

The largest automotive recall in history involves about 100 million inflators produced by another parts maker Takata that have been recalled by 19 major automakers worldwide and linked to 26 deaths.