Takata recalled an additional 3.3 million vehicles. Photo by Jeff Kowalsky/EPA
Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Japanese firm Takata added another 3.3 million faulty airbag inflators to its recall list as it expands the largest automotive recall in U.S. history.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the additions, which affect airbags fitted to vehicles created in 2009, 2010 and 2013.
"Approximately 34 million vehicles are currently under recall for approximately 46 million defective Takata air bags that can explode when the air bag deploys, causing serious injury or even death," the NHTSA said.
The organization said all additional airbag inflators would be recalled by December 2019 and bring the total number of affected devices to 65-70 million.
Takata airbags installed in vehicles manufactured by Honda, Toyota, Audi, BMW, Daimler Vans, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar-Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Tesla are involved in the massive recall.
The cause of the safety concern stems from a chemical present in the device that creates a small explosion -- to inflate the airbags quickly during a crash. When stored in high temperatures or in strong humidity, though, the substance can burn too quickly and blow apart, and potentially send shrapnel into the passenger cabin.
The Takata devices have been linked to 20 deaths and 180 people hurt worldwide.
The NHTSA encouraged owners to get their vehicles fixed "as soon as possible," and some manufacturers warned against anyone sitting in the front passenger seat until repairs are completed.
Federal officials said last month that more than half of the vehicles involved in the recall have yet to be fixed.
Takata, which declared bankruptcy last summer, first began recalling the airbag devices in 2014.