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Takata Airbag recall largest in history; millions more automobiles affected

Takata airbags are in the news again, with yet another recall expansion adding millions of automobiles to the list of those requiring replacements for the faulty airbag inflators, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Takata Corporation began the recall months ago, after reports of injuries due to its airbag inflators operating with far too much force, ripping apart the inflating mechanism itself and spewing schrapnel into the passenger compartment. To date, six people have been killed and more than 100 injured. NHTSA announced a few days ago that Takata of Japan had agreed to double the number of recalled inflators to 33.8 million, making this the largest auto recall in U.S. history. A complete list of makes and models affected by the expanded recall is not yet available, but it affects eleven automakers in the U.S. and Canada. The best way to find out if your auto is included in the recall is to go to the website and type in your vehicle identification number (VIN). The number is stamped on the driver's side of the dashboard near the windshield and is also on the vehicle registration cards in many states. Be aware that automakers are still keying in the VIN numbers of affected vehicles, and that the task will likely take several weeks. Even if you don't find your vehicle listed at first, keep checking as the list is updated over time. Meanwhile, below is a partial list of the makes and models affected so far (this list may also overlap with previous recalls):

• Honda Motor Co.: Adds 350,000 vehicles in U.S. including 2005 Civics and 2006-2007 Accords. No vehicles added in Canada, where 705,000 were recalled previously. Vehicles now covered include 2001-2007 Accord, 2001-2005 Civic, 2002-2006 CR-V, 2003-2011 Element, 2002-2004 Odyssey, 2003-2008 Pilot, 2006 Ridgeline, 2003-2006 Acura MDX, 2002-2003 Acura TL, 2003 Acura CL, 2005 Acura RL.

• Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.: Adds about two million vehicles globally including U.S. Expansion brings total affected to 5.2 million globally. Models include 2003 Ram 1500/2500/3500, 2005-2009 Ram 2500 Pickup, 2004-2008 Ram 1500 Pickup, 2006-2009 Ram 3500 Pickup, 2007-2009 Ram 3500 Cab Chassis, 2008-2010 Dodge Ram 4500/5500 Cab Chassis, 2008-2009 Sterling 4500/5500 Cab Chassis, 2004-2008 Dodge Durango, 2007-2008 Chrysler Aspen, 2005-2010 Chrysler 300/300C/SRT8, 2005-2010 Dodge Charger/Magnum, 2005-2011 Dodge Dakota, 2006-2010 Mitsubishi Raider.

• BMW AG: Adds about 280,000 vehicles in U.S. including 2002-2005 325i/325xi/330i/330xi, 2002-2005 325xi/325i Sports Wagon, 2002-2006 330Ci/325Ci/M3 Convertible, 2002-2006 325i/330i/M3 Coupe, 2002-2003 M5/540i/525i/530i, 2002-2003 540i/525i Sports Wagon, 2003-2004 X5 3.0i/4.4i Sports Activity Vehicle. U.S. total in recall is nearly 421,000.

• Ford Motor Co.: Adds nearly 967,000 vehicles to the recall, mainly in the U.S. and Canada, bringing total to just over 1.5 million. Models include 2005-2014 Mustang, 2005-2006 Ford GT, 2004-2006 Ford Rangers.

• Mitsubishi Motors North America: Expands passenger air bag recall from Gulf Coast to nationwide. Total is just under 83,000 vehicles. Models include recall to include 2004-2006 Lancer/Lancer Evolution and 2004 Lancer Sportback. Vehicles from other automakers will be announced later.

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