Sources: Takata to announce recall of 35M to 40M US air bag inflators

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Takata's possible 40 mln airbag recall

WASHINGTON, May 3 (Reuters) - Under pressure from U.S. regulators, Japanese air bag manufacturer Takata Corp is expected to announce as early as Wednesday that it is recalling 35 million to 40 million additional inflators in U.S. vehicles, three sources briefed on the matter said on Tuesday.

The expanded recall will be phased in over several years and more than double what is already the largest and most complex auto safety recall in U.S. history. The new recall will cover all frontal air bag inflators without a drying agent, sources briefed on the matter said.

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To date, 14 automakers, led by Honda Motor Co, have recalled 24 million U.S. vehicles with 28.8 million inflators due to the risk that they can explode with too much force and spray metal shards inside vehicles.

In recent days, officials from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) told Takata they need to expand the recall based on the government's determination of the root cause of the problems, sources briefed on the matter said.

NHTSA spokesman Bryan Thomas declined to confirm the expanded recall. "NHTSA has reviewed the findings of three separate investigations into the Takata air bag ruptures. The recall of Takata air bag inflators... continues and the agency will take all appropriate actions to make sure air bags in Americans' vehicles are safe."

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Sources: Takata to announce recall of 35M to 40M US air bag inflators
Japanese seat belt and air-bag maker Takata Corp. Chairman and CEO Shigehisa Takada gestures during a press conference regarding the expanding recall of his company's air bags, in Tokyo Thursday, June 25, 2015. Takada apologized to shareholders of the company at the center of a defect scandal that has resulted in recalls of 33.8 million air bags while appearing at a news conference for the first time since the problems became evident. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
Shigehisa Takada, chairman and president of Takata Corp., pauses during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, June 25, 2015. Takada made his first public apology for the eight deaths and hundreds of injuries related to the company's air bags dating back more than a decade. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. Chairman and CEO Shigehisa Takada bows during a press conference regarding the expanding recall of his company's air bags, in Tokyo Thursday, June 25, 2015. Takada apologized to shareholders of the company at the center of a defect scandal that has resulted in recalls of 33.8 million air bags while appearing at a news conference for the first time since the problems became evident. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
Shigehisa Takada, chairman and president of Takata Corp., reacts during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, June 25, 2015. Takada made his first public apology for the eight deaths and hundreds of injuries related to the company's air bags dating back more than a decade. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. CEO Shigehisa Takada listens to a reporter's question during a news conference in Tokyo Thursday, June 25, 2015. Takada, the head of the company at the center of a defect scandal that has resulted in recalls of more than 33.8 million vehicles, appeared at a news conference Thursday for the first time since the problems emerged but shed little light on the underlying cause of the problems. Earlier, Takada apologized to shareholders at their annual meeting. He then faced media questions, bowing in apology both before and after the news conference. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
Japanese seat belt and air-bag maker Takata Corp. Chairman and CEO Shigehisa Takada bows during a press conference regarding the expanding recall of his company's air bags, in Tokyo Thursday, June 25, 2015. Takada apologized to shareholders of the company at the center of a defect scandal that has resulted in recalls of 33.8 million air bags and appeared at the news conference for the first time since the problems became evident. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
The CEO of Takata Corp., the Japanese air bag maker Shigehisa Takada listens to a reporter's question during a press conference in Tokyo Thursday, June 25, 2015. The CEO of Takata Corp., the air bag maker at the center of a defect scandal that has resulted in recalls of 33.8 million vehicles, appeared at a news conference Thursday for the first time since the problems emerged and apologized to shareholders.(AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
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The new recall is expected to include about 35 million passenger-side air bags and some driver-side air bags without a drying agent. It is also expected to include some air bags that were previously replaced that did not have a drying agent.

Takata spokesman Jared Levy declined to confirm the expansion, but said the company is "working with regulators and our automaker customers to develop long-term, orderly solutions to these important safety issues."

Last month, NHTSA said there were about 85 million unrecalled Takata air bag inflators in U.S. vehicles that would need to be recalled by 2019 unless the company can prove they are safe.

The recall expansion, earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal, leaves open the question of whether about 50 million inflators - including 18 million side inflators and about 32 million frontal and side airbags with drying agents - will eventually need to be recalled.

At least 11 people have been killed worldwide in incidents linked to defective Takata inflators. The latest was the March 31 death of a 17-year-old driver in Texas.

Under an agreement signed last year, the company has until 2019 to demonstrate that all of its unrecalled air bag inflators are safe.

The prospect of ballooning recall costs has prompted Takata to look for a financial backer.

More on the Takata airbag recall:

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Sources: Takata to announce recall of 35M to 40M US air bag inflators
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx speaks about the Takata air bag inflator recall, Tuesday, May 19, 2015, at the Transportation Department in Washington. Air bag maker Takata Corp. has agreed to declare 33.8 million of its inflator mechanisms defective, effectively doubling the number of cars and trucks that have been recalled in the U.S. so far. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 19: NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind (L) and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (R) speak about the Takata air bag recall during a news conference at the Department of Transportation May 19, 2015 in Washington, DC. It was announced that the Takata Corp. has agreed to declare 33.8 million of its inflator mechanisms defective which will bring the number up to about 34 million autos, making it one of the largest consumer product recalls ever. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2014 file photo, Senate Commerce Committee member Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. displays the parts and function of a defective airbag made by Takata of Japan that has been linked to multiple deaths and injuries in cars driven in the U.S., during the committee's hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Government statistics released Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 show that automakers issued 803 recalls totaling almost 64 million vehicles in the U.S. last year, more than double the old record set a decade earlier. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
In this Dec. 22, 2014 photo, a woman checks out a new Honda City at a Honda showroom in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Six years ago, Honda began recalling Takata driver’s side air bags in the U.S. because they could inflate with too much force and spew shrapnel into the vehicle. But it wasn’t until last month after a crash in Malaysia that killed a woman and her unborn child that Honda recalled driver’s side air bags in small cars from Asia and Europe. (AP Photo)
In this photo taken Monday, Dec. 22, 2014, Honda cars are worked on at the service center in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Six years ago, Honda began recalling Takata driver’s side air bags in the U.S. because they could inflate with too much force and spew shrapnel into the vehicle. But it wasn’t until last month after a crash in Malaysia that killed a woman and her unborn child that Honda recalled driver’s side air bags in small cars from Asia and Europe. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2014 file photo, Senate Commerce Committee member Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. displays the parts and function of a defective airbag made by Takata of Japan that has been linked to multiple deaths and injuries in cars driven in the US, during the committee's hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. The top Japanese auto safety official acknowledged Friday, Dec. 5 that Japan's recall system needs an overhaul to better respond to global problems highlighted by the debacle over Takata air bags that can explode. "The framework in place now doesn't allow for that," Masato Sahashi, director of the recall office at the transport ministry, said in a telephone interview. "Japanese people are very worried about the safety of their cars." (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Child seats, manufactured by Takata Corp. are displayed at a Toyota Motor Corp.'s showroom in Tokyo Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014. Takata, the Japanese air bag maker embroiled in a massive recall totaling some 12 million vehicles globally, says it's taking more special losses for new recalls and will sink deeper into the red for the fiscal year. Takata said Thursday it will record a 25 billion yen ($218 million) loss for the fiscal year through March 2015. It previously forecast a 24 million yen ($210 million) forecast. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
Parts of pyro-electric airbag initiators lie in a production line at the international automotive supplier Takata Ignition Systems GmbH in Schoenebeck, Germany, Thursday, April 17, 2014. The Takata Corporation is a leading global supplier of automotive safety systems such as seat belts, airbags and child seats. The company has 46 plants in 17 countries around the world. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
The logo of the Toyota automobile company is seen on the window of a company showroom in the Indian capital New Delhi on May 13, 2015. Japanese auto giants Toyota and Nissan on May 13, 2015, said they were recalling 6.5 million vehicles globally in the latest chapter of an exploding airbag crisis linked to several deaths. The world's biggest automaker said its recall of five million vehicles affected 35 models globally produced between 2003 and 2007, while Nissan said it was calling back 1.56 million vehicles also due to faulty airbags made by embattled supplier Takata. AFP PHOTO / Chandan KHANNA (Photo credit should read Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images)
Japanese auto parts maker Takata's child car seats are displayed at a showroom in Tokyo on May 20, 2015. Takata is doubling a recall of US cars with potentially deadly airbags to a record nearly 34 million vehicles, sending the firm's shares plunging in Tokyo. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
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(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler; Editing by Dan Grebler)


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