Volkswagen is recalling 105,652 Beetle coupes and convertibles from the 2012 through 2014 model years to replace dangerous and defective Takata airbags that may rupture when they deploy and spray metal fragments that could injure or kill vehicle occupants. According to Consumer Reports, this recall is the latest chapter in the massive airbag recall and part of an agreement between Volkswagen and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) according to which the automaker will replace Takata airbags in phases through 2025.
Details of the Recall
The vehicles included in this recall include VW Beetle coupes made between Feb. 17, 2011 and July 3, 2014, and Beetle convertibles manufactured from Dec. 29, 2011, through July 2, 2014. Over time, the propellant in the driver-side airbag inflator could degrade due to high humidity and heat. If this occurs the inflator could explode and send sharp pieces of metal flying into the vehicle compartment.
When the recall begins in February, dealerships will replace the airbags with new units that feature a different design free of charge. You can check NHTSA’s website to see if your vehicle is included in this recall. You can do so by plugging in your vehicle’s 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN) into the site.
According to documents provided by NHTSA, the specific driver-side airbags installed in the recalled Beetles may become dangerous as they age. As a result, Volkswagen is replacing the airbags now before they become a serious safety concern. So far, there have been no reported crashes or injuries related to these specific airbags. The airbags in these and other vehicles have a different design than the earlier Takata airbags that are part of an unprecedented recall in U.S. history. So far Takata airbags in a variety of vehicle models have caused at least 25 deaths and 300 injuries worldwide.
Takata Airbag Lawsuits
Millions of these unrepaired defective vehicles still contain faulty Takata airbags on our roadways. Particularly at risk are millions of people who own used cars that they bought at dealerships or auctions. These consumers have no idea that these vehicles had been recalled because they don’t get the recall notices automakers send out. Also, there are no laws requiring dealers to repair recalled cars before they sell them, even though doing so cost dealerships nothing. Automakers are required to fix recalled vehicles at no cost.
Suppose you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a defective auto. In that case, you may be able to file an auto product liability claim against the automaker or the manufacturer of the defective part seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation and pain and suffering. It is important that victims and their families contact an auto defect law firm that has successfully investigated and won similar cases against large automakers.