NHTSA Announces Investigation into ARC Automotive Inc.

by | Sep 13, 2023 | Auto Accident, Personal Injury

Following our previous article concerning the dispute between the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and ARC Automotive Inc. over the recall of potentially hazardous airbag inflators, a new development has occurred. On September 5, 2023, NHTSA issued a formal notice indicating the commencement of an investigation into ARC Automotive Inc., bringing the issue under heightened scrutiny. This push for accountability from ARC was spurred by an injury sustained in an accident in Michigan:

On March 22, 2023, a driver side air bag inflator in a MY 2017 Chevrolet Traverse ruptured in Michigan. The air bag module was produced by Toyoda Gosei and used a duel stage ARC inflator. The inflator was manufactured in Reynosa, Mexico. The driver sustained injuries to the face.

The NHTSA has identified that the airbag inflators manufactured by ARC and under license by another company, may explode, propelling shrapnel that could cause severe injuries or death. This update follows an earlier demand by the NHTSA for ARC to recall approximately 52 million airbag inflators in the United States due to the associated risks. Despite the concerns raised by the NHTSA, ARC continues to deny any defect in their inflators, attributing any issues to isolated manufacturing problems.

Here are the critical updates:

  1. Formal Investigation Announcement: The NHTSA’s announcement on September 5 marks a substantial move towards possibly mandating a recall, with a public hearing scheduled for October 5, 2023. This is a requisite step before the agency decides on seeking a court-ordered recall.
  2. Injury and Fatality Reports: The NHTSA links the faulty inflators to at least seven injuries and two deaths since 2009. This has raised serious safety concerns, prompting the NHTSA to act decisively in investigating the matter.
  3. Response from ARC: The company has maintained its stance, asserting that no safety defect exists within their inflators. ARC has challenged the authority of the NHTSA to order a recall, setting the stage for a potential court battle.
  4. Impact on Vehicle Owners: The ongoing situation creates an alarming uncertainty for vehicle owners across multiple brands including Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Ford, Toyota, and others. With millions of vehicles suspected to have these potentially defective inflators, the urgency of the matter cannot be understated.
  5. Automakers’ Actions: Though a full-scale recall has been resisted by ARC, several automakers have conducted smaller recalls since 2017 due to isolated manufacturing issues. Most notably, General Motors announced a recall in May involving nearly 1 million vehicles.

Our experienced lawyers handle products liability personal injury and wrongful death litigation of all kinds and the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or those who have been seriously injured as a result of accidents. The lawyers of Spagnoletti Law Firm have handled products liability lawsuits throughout the country.

The experienced and aggressive attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an accident due to a defect in your vehicle. There are strict and short time limits on making claims related to such injuries, so please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or 877-678-5864 to learn more about your rights.