GM to recall 7M vehicles globally to replace Takata air bags

Automaker says it will not fight the decision, even though it believes the vehicles are safe

FILE - This Friday, May 16, 2014, file photo, shows the General Motors logo at the company's world headquarters in Detroit. The U.S. is making General Motors recall and repair nearly 6 million big pickup trucks and SUVs equipped with potentially dangerous Takata air bag inflators. The move announced Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will cost the automaker an estimated $1.2 billion. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) (Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu)

DETROIT – General Motors will recall about 7 million big pickup trucks and SUVs worldwide to replace potentially dangerous Takata air bag inflators.

The announcement came Monday after the U.S. government told the automaker it had to recall 6 million of the vehicles domestically.

GM says it will not fight the decision, even though it believes the vehicles are safe. It will cost the company an estimated $1.2 billion, about one-third of its net income so far this year.

The automaker had petitioned the agency four times since 2016 to avoid recalls, contending the air bag inflator canisters have been safe on the road and in testing. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Monday denied the petitions, saying the inflators still run the risk of exploding.

Owners complained to the NHTSA that the company was placing profits over safety.

Exploding Takata inflators caused the largest series of auto recalls in U.S. history, with at least 63 million inflators recalled. The U.S. government says that as of September, more than 11.1 million had not been fixed. About 100 million inflators have been recalled worldwide.

Takata used volatile ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to fill air bags in a crash. But the chemical can deteriorate when exposed to heat and humidity, and it can explode with too much pressure, blowing apart a metal canister and spewing shrapnel.

Twenty-seven people have been killed worldwide by the exploding inflators, including 18 in the U.S.