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The legendary Takata airbag recall has affected over 50 million cars in the U.S. Market. The recall was announced a decade ago because Takata airbag inflators contained metal fragments that could injure or even kill passengers if deployed. Data on total resolved recalls as of October 2023 shows GM trailing the other automakers.

The words "AIRBAG" and air horn icon are shown on a black car steering wheel in close view
Airbag icon on a car steering wheel | welcomia via iStock

According to a chart provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation that tracks Takata recall fulfillment, GM has only resolved 2.9 million of its 6.1 million affected models. This is only 47% of its recalled vehicles. Ford has resolved 93% of its Takata recalls, or more than 4 million of its 4.3 million cases. Chrysler has resolved 6.3 million of its 7.4 million recalled models. All other listed OEMs have resolved 85% or more of their recalls.

If the chart is accurate, there are still 3.2 million GM models out there with recalled Takata airbags.

Reviewing the list of individual GM-Takata notices, at least five have 50% or more vehicles with outstanding airbag recalls. The largest is the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) recall number 21V-050, with associated GM recall number N212328760. The notice flags more than 2.6 million 2007 to 2014 Cadillac Escalades, Chevrolet Avalanches, Silverados, Suburbans, Tahoes, and certain GMC Sierras and Yukons.

GM’s Takata airbag recall timeline

In notice 21V-050, the NHTSA chronology states that GMT900 trucks and SUVs have been flagged in Takata airbag installation reports from 2016 through 2019. GM had actually petitioned against the recall several times: in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, which were all denied. GM maintained that they did not believe the recalled Takata part numbers posed an actual threat to vehicle safety. However, they would abide by the recall. The draft letter to customers for GM recall N212328760 was dated March 2021.

One DOT chart column provides the number of affected models that have been scrapped. Scrapped, stolen, and exported units can be removed from the remaining balance. To date, the chart reports that more than 263,000 of the above-listed GM models have been scrapped.

This is a higher portion than one Honda recall of 2.3 million 2001-2005 Civics, which reports 197,000 have been scrapped. Honda has completed 97% of this notice.

Toyota has also completed more than 90% of its affected model recalls. Even then, a breaking announcement for older model Toyota owners to immediately stop driving their cars if they still contain Takata airbags recently dominated news feeds.

As of October 2023, this 21V-050 has only been executed on 34% of flagged models. The other NHTSA notices in the 21V-05X series flag the same group of GM models but specify years within the 2007-2014 range. While the GM notices state that airbag replacement will occur in stages based on parts availability, none of this series are even 50% fulfilled yet. None of the GM Takata recalls overall show 100% fulfillment.

GM has a web page on the Takata recall. The page states that parts are available for certain 2003-2014 models and lists them. Many of the models flagged in 21V-050 are included in the list.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, GM