| DETROIT, Sept 16
DETROIT, Sept 16 General Motors Co has asked
U.S. safety regulators to a delay a recall of 980,000 trucks
with Takata air bag inflators to allow it to demonstrate the
vehicles are safe and avoid a hit to profits.
In a Sept. 2 petition filed with the U.S. National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and made public on Friday,
the Detroit automaker asked the agency to delay the recall, set
to begin by Dec. 31. The GM vehicles at issue are 2007-2012
full-size trucks and SUVs.
GM said on Friday a one-year delay would permit GM and an
outside firm "to complete a long-term aging study and fully
analyze the service life of these inflators."
The NHTSA has identified 6.8 million GM vehicles equipped
with Takata airbags the agency said should be recalled. GM has
said previously it does not believe there is a safety defect in
any of the 6.8 million vehicles, but it agreed to an initial
recall after talks with the NHTSA.
GM has said in securities filings that the cost of replacing
all 6.8 million Takata airbags could total $870 million. The
company said in July the cost of replacing Takata air bag
inflators in 4.3 million of the affected vehicles would be $550
million, while replacing inflators in the 2.5 million vehicles
recalled to date would cost as much as $320 million.
GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said on Friday the automaker is
still in talks with the agency about the recall - and GM has not
begun making any recall repairs.
GM has said its Takata inflators have a unique design that
does not pose a safety risk. The company said data showed no
cases of an airbag rupturing among 44,000 deployments in large
GM pickups and SUVs that contain Takata inflators.
GM's stance is at odds with the position of regulators that
all front Takata airbag inflators without a drying agent must be
recalled. NHTSA spokesman Bryan Thomas declined to comment
Friday on the petition.
Upward of 100 million vehicles worldwide with Takata airbag
inflators have been declared defective and are linked to 14
deaths and more than 100 injuries. Inflators can explode with
too much force and spray metal shrapnel into vehicle passenger
(Editing by Joseph White and Steve Orlofsky)