Ford Motor Co yesterday warned an additional 33,000 owners of older pickup trucks in North America against driving them until potentially defective Takata Corp air bag inflators could be repaired.
In January, Ford had told 2,900 owners of model year 2006 Ford Ranger trucks to stop driving following a second death linked to inflators built on the same day.
Ford, the second largest US automaker said in a statement that the expanded warning was prompted by additional testing and now covered a broader time frame of production.
Mazda Motor Corp said a similar expansion for about 1,800 2006 Mazda B-Series trucks built by Ford was being issued after it had issued a warning for 160 trucks in January.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said the vehicles pose ''an immediate risk to safety'' and called on owners to immediately schedule a free repair.
Both companies have replacement air bag inflators currently available and will tow vehicles to a dealership for repairs and also loan vehicles free of charge, the companies and NHTSA said. About 90 per cent of the vehicles included in the ''Do Not Drive'' warning are in the US.
In January two US senators questioned why Ford's warning applied only to a small number of the 391,000 2004-2006 Ranger trucks recalled because of Takata air bags in 2016 in the US.
Ford spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt said yesterday that Ford, which made the B-Series for Mazda, found test results, which showed that trucks had inflators that ruptured or recorded high internal pressure readings.
Takata uses ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate air bags, but the chemical is known to deteriorate and burn too fast. In the process, it blows apart metal canisters and hurls shrapnel into drivers and passengers. The problem had caused the death of 22 people and had left 180 hurt.