Federal Safety Agency Calls on Takata to Expand Airbag Recall

PHOTO: Child seats manufactured by Takata Corp. are displayed at a Toyota Motor Corp.s showroom in Tokyo on Nov. 6, 2014.Shizuo Kambayashi/AP Photo
Child seats manufactured by Takata Corp. are displayed at a Toyota Motor Corp.'s showroom in Tokyo on Nov. 6, 2014.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced today that it has called on airbag maker Takata to expand its recall of driver-side airbags nationwide.

“By demanding this national recall, NHTSA has demonstrated once again that it will follow data and evidence to protect the lives of Americans on the road and to hold manufacturers accountable,” Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.

The acting director of NHTSA, David Friedman, said on a conference call with reporters that his department now has a report of a defective bag beyond the earlier identified geographical area, which was formerly confined to humid areas.

The incident in question took place in North Carolina in August in a Ford Mustang, and the complaint was received two weeks ago, officials said.

Several carmakers use Takata airbags, including Ford, Honda, Chrysler, Mazda and BMW. An expanded recall could involve millions of vehicles, officials said.

"Our aggressive investigation is far from over," Friedman said in a statement. "We’re pushing Takata and all affected manufacturers to issue the recall and to ensure the recalls capture the full scope of the problems."

Takata must now respond. If the company doesn't expand the recall voluntarily, NHTSA officials said they will force the company to do so.