What: The 2013 vehicle models of the Buick Veranos and three Chevrolets — the Volt, Sonic, and Camaro.
Who: General Motors (GM).
Why: The vehicles are equipped with Takata airbags that can cause injury or death when inflated.
When: GM released the recall on August 1st, 2023.
Where: GM has issued a recall for the vehicles in the U.S., Canada, and Brazil.
How I Can Identify the Recalled Vehicle: Vehicle owners can identify the recalled GM vehicles by entering their car’s vehicle identification number on the national highway safety associations website. Owners may also contact their local Chevy dealer to learn if their vehicle is affected by the recall.
This month General Motors (GM) is recalling more than 900 vehicles equipped with Takata airbags that can cause severe injury or death when inflated after an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), they have filed for a recall for the specific model year 2013 Buick Veranos and three Chevrolets — the Volt, Sonic, and Camaro.
The Chevy recall applies to 767 vehicles within the U.S., 101 in Canada, and another 46 vehicles, which are located in other countries, including Brazil, where the issue first emerged this past May. According to the reports, GM said it received an allegation that on May 23, 2023, a 2013 Camaro was in a crash that caused the front-driver airbag inflator to rupture.
Injury Reports in Brazil Lead to the Chevy Recall
As mentioned, this past May, GM received reports that the airbag inflator of a 2013 Chevrolet Camaro in Brazil ruptured when it was deployed. The company claims that its final analysis of the inflator is still underway; however, its initial reports indicated that the inflator rupture was related to a manufacturing defect and not by the deterioration of the chemical compound found in the inflator, ammonium nitrate.
In an interview, spokesman Bill Grotz said only one person was injured in the Brazil Camaro incident, and the company has not been made aware of any other injury reports of the inflator rupturing or harming anyone else. “GM is taking this field action out of an abundance of caution and with the safety of our customers as our highest priority,” Grotz said. Grotz also mentioned he was currently unable to release details surrounding the manufacturing defect.
Timeline for the Takata Airbag Recalls
Takata Corp., the Japanese company responsible for the creation of the Takata airbags, when creating the product it decided to cut costs and use the volatile ammonium nitrate in their airbags inflators to cause a small explosion that would inflate the airbags in a crash. However, the chemical used can deteriorate over time and explode with too much force, blowing apart a metal canister and spewing shrapnel into the passenger cabin. The Takata airbags were installed in vehicles from 2002 through 2015.
Since May 2009, Takata had received multiple reports regarding injuries and safety concerns surrounding the inflators. However, the issue did not become widely known until around 2014, when several major car manufacturers recalled vehicles equipped with faulty airbags. Since 2009, more than 30 people have died worldwide as a direct cause of the Takata airbags, 26 of those deaths taking place in the United States. In addition, about 400 people have been injured. The exploding airbags sent Takata Corp. into bankruptcy.
Due to the severity of the airbags, multiple vehicle manufacturers have recalled roughly 100 million inflators worldwide. Due to the recall scale in the U.S. alone, the Takata recall has been labeled as the largest series of auto recalls in U.S. history, with at least 67 million Takata inflators involved. While this recall is considered the largest, unfortunately, the numbers for repair do not line up, as millions of vehicles have still not been repaired.
In an attempt to distance themselves from the Takata recalls, GM claims that according to documents posted by the United States Government, the issue is limited to a specific lot of inflators made by Takata, and other vehicles are unaffected. According to the company, the airbags in the General Motors recall have a moisture-absorbing chemical called a "desiccant" and were not involved in the previous Takata recalls.
However, currently, the NHTSA has an open investigation into the Takata airbags with a desiccant. The investigation opened in 2021 covers over 30 million inflators in over 200 models from 20 car and truck makers, including General Motors.
According to the report on the NHTSA’s website, drivers whose vehicles have been affected by the recall can expect their local Chevy dealers to replace the driver-side airbag module for free. In order to access the free inspection and replacement airbag, owners of the recalled vehicles are asked to schedule a service appointment with their local dealership. Anyone with questions regarding the recall can contact Buick customer service at 1-800-521-7300 or Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020. The recall is listed under the number: N232413120.
Owners of the recalled Chevy vehicles can head over to the NHTSA website to discover if their vehicle has been affected by the recall. Once on the site, drivers should enter their vehicle’s 17-character VIN, which can be found on the lower left of your car's windshield, your car's registration card, or, in some cases, it may be shown on your insurance card. For more information regarding the recent Chevy recall or the ongoing Takata recalls, drivers can contact a Morgan & Morgan attorney today.