GM recalls 42,000 vehicles in Canada for air bag defect

A customer checks out details of a Chevrolet Traverse being displayed at Surman Chevrolet car dealership in Mexico City

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -General Motors said on Monday it will recall 42,000 sport utility vehicles in Canada from the 2014 through 2017 model years because the driver's air-bag inflator may explode during deployment.

On Friday, GM recalled 994,763 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia vehicles in the United States from the 2014-2017 model years with modules produced by ARC Automotive Inc. GM did not immediately say if it will recall the vehicles in other markets.

Dealers in Canada and the United States will replace the driver's air-bag module. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on Friday it was demanding the recall of 67 million ARC inflators produced over an 18-year period, a request the company is resisting.

GM's recall came after an incident in March in Michigan resulted in facial injuries to a driver that was confirmed as a rupture in late April.

"Air bag inflators that project metal fragments into vehicle occupants, rather than properly inflating the attached air bag, create an unreasonable risk of death and injury," NHTSA said in its demand letter to the Tennessee-based company.

ARC air bag inflators are used by at least a dozen automakers including GM, Chrysler-parent Stellantis, BMW, Hyundai Motor, Kia Corp and other vehicles.

ARC rejected NHTSA's tentative conclusion that a defect exists, saying it is based upon seven field ruptures in the United States. NHTSA "then asks ARC to prove a negative – that the 67 million inflators in this population are not defective," the company said.

NHTSA said in August 2021, a driver was killed after an air bag inflator in a 2015 Chevrolet Traverse ruptured in Michigan that had a replacement ARC inflator.

The agency said it is seeking the recall of 67 million driver and passenger frontal air bag inflators that were produced through January 2018.

U.S. auto parts maker Delphi, whose Asian auto safety unit was acquired by Autoliv in 2010, manufactured about 11 million of the inflators under a licensing agreement with ARC, which manufactured the remainder.

(Reporting by David Shepardson, Editing by Franklin Paul and Bill Berkrot)