sierra 2011 crash test IIHS

SAFETY: GM Complies With And Pushes Back Against Takata Recall

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Has Takata airbag recall gone too far?  GM seems to think so.


Covering recall news is boring, because it is usually as dry as white toast and always the same story.  Today, a very interesting recall announcement came from General Motors, which, if read between the lines, says “This recall is BS.”  Never in our coverage of recalls has the manufacturer’s announcement been so couched in doubt and cynicism.

George Kennedy, Consumer Reports alum, and BestRide contributor explains the Takata recalll in the video below and says it is being done “With an abundance of caution.” GM apparently thinks it has gone too far.

Related: Read About The Recall’s Big Picture In Detail Here

This particular recall goes right to the heart of GM’s core business. Covering the truck maker’s Silverado, Sierra, Yukon, Escalade, and similar models, this is a recall that hits every one of GM’s top-selling vehicles.

What GM seems to say is that it is unnecessary. We will translate the “recall speak” in GM’s latest press release for our readers so they can get a clear understanding of the issues.

sierra 2011 crash test IIHS

GM statement: “The order requires vehicle manufacturers named in the Takata reports to initiate recalls. Although GM does not believe that a safety defect exists at this time, the company is filing a preliminary recall in cooperation with NHTSA.”

Translation: We will comply with this, but it dumb and unnecessary.

GM statement: “GM expects to provide NHTSA with additional test data, analysis or other relevant and appropriate evidence in support of its belief that these GM vehicles do not pose an unreasonable risk to safety.”

Translation: We have instructed our engineers to find six ways to tell NHTSA to stick this recall where the sun don’t shine.

GM statement: “GM believes that its 2007-2011 trucks and SUVs do not pose an unreasonable safety risk at this time. This is based on no inflator ruptures during an estimated 44,000 crash deployments as well as analysis of parts returned from the field, and can be explained by the unique Takata inflator made for GM’s vehicles and features unique to GM trucks and SUVs.”

Translation: None of the airbags are broken. We are lucky to have over forty thousand serious crashes that prove this.

GM statement: “Takata passenger-side airbag inflators used in these trucks and SUVs are a variant engineered specifically for these GM vehicles and include features such as greater venting, unique propellant wafer configurations, and machined steel end caps. The inflators are packaged in the instrument panel in such a way as to minimize exposure to moisture from the climate control system. Importantly, these full-size trucks and SUVs have features and attributes that minimize the maximum temperature to which the inflator will be exposed, such as large interior volumes and standard solar-absorbing windshields and side glass.”

Translation: We knew the airbags need to breathe over time, and we designed them to. That is why they are not failing on our trucks, and they are failing in the cars from other automakers who were dumb and didn’t add these features.

Maybe GM is feeling bold having not lost a single one of the four bellwether cases that went to trail in the ignition switch failure debacle. We’re just glad to see some spice in what is normally a boring boiler-plate recall announcement.

Crash test image courtesy of IIHS.



John Goreham

John Goreham