This week, documents that were posted by the country’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that there is currently an investigation that is being carried out by federal government on a certain airbag supplier that had its inflators rupture and as a result injuring two drivers in the past seven months.
According to reports, the inflators that were produced by ARC Automotive, a company that is based in Knoxville, Tennessee, are not related to the inflators by Takata that ended up affecting more than 32 million cars and have left 8 people dead so far.
The NHTSA reports that the first complaint that they received came in December 2002 and that the driver was complaining that his side airbag had ruptured. Upon receiving the complaint, the NHTSA declared the case an isolated event until it was reported by Kia in June that there was a lawsuit that involved other inflators by ARC in one of its 2004 Optima. Both Drivers in both cases were injured. Currently, the NHTSA is working on a vehicle population that is 420,000 Town and Country minivans. In addition to that, they are also focusing on 70,000 Optimas although there hasn’t been any root cause that has been identified.
One thing to note about this whole case is that ARC, unlike Takata, is not exactly a Tier supplier. ARC does not build airbags that are complete, instead ARC focuses on supplying inflators to other suppliers of airbags and in this particular instance, Chrysler’s Key Safety Systems as well as Delphi for Kia.