Volvo Adds 195,000 Vehicles to Recall for Dangerous Air Bags

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
October 21, 2021 Updated: October 21, 2021

DETROIT—Volvo is recalling another 195,000 vehicles in the United States because the front driver’s air bags could explode and send shrapnel into the cabin.

It’s the company’s third U.S. recall for the issue with air bag inflators made by supplier ZF/TRW. It stems from the death of an unidentified U.S. driver. In all, the recalls cover more than a half-million vehicles.

The latest recall posted Thursday by U.S. safety regulators covers XC70 and V70 wagons from the 2001 through 2007 model years that were built from Feb. 22, 2000 through May 4, 2007.

The problem is similar to widespread trouble with air bag inflators made by bankrupt Japanese air bag maker Takata. The company used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate the air bags. But the chemical can deteriorate over time when exposed to high heat and humidity and burn too fast, blowing apart a metal canister.

At least 19 people in the United States and 28 worldwide have been killed by exploding Takata inflators. More than 400 have been injured in the United States.

The Volvo inflators do not use ammonium nitrate, but the propellant can still deteriorate when exposed to high heat and humidity, according to documents posted Thursday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Volvo said in the documents that the fatality is the only inflator rupture case that it knows of.

ZF/TRW said the inflators were not sold to any other automakers in the United States. The company’s U.S. headquarters is in Livonia, Michigan, near Detroit.

Earlier this month Volvo recalled nearly 260,000 older cars in the United States for the same problem. That was in addition to a recall from November of 2020.

Dealers will replace the driver’s air bag “with a modern state-of-the-art propellant/inflator,” the Volvo documents say. Owners in the latest recall will be notified by letter starting Dec. 14.