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US regulator considers expanding Takata air bag recalls: Bloomberg

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The US regulator overseeing the replacement of Takata Corp air bags is considering an order that would expand the recalls and has contacted seven manufacturers who could be affected, including Volkswagen AG and Tesla Motors Inc, Bloomberg reported.

[DETROIT] The US regulator overseeing the replacement of Takata Corp air bags is considering an order that would expand the recalls and has contacted seven manufacturers who could be affected, including Volkswagen AG and Tesla Motors Inc, Bloomberg reported.

Takata identified the seven as companies it supplied with air bag inflators that use ammonium nitrate propellant, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in letters dated Sept 22, Bloomberg reported.

Reuters could not immediately verify the contents of the letters or reach the NHTSA, Takata, Volkswagen and Tesla for comment.

Takata air bag inflators have been linked to eight deaths and more than 100 injuries. The devices can explode with too much force, spraying metal shrapnel into vehicle passenger compartments. About 19 million Takata inflators remain installed in US vehicles.

No cause has been determined. But experts believe ammonium nitrate, the propellant used by Takata, may become unstable over time when exposed to humidity. Takata is the only air bag manufacturer that uses ammonium nitrate, a practice that has raised questions in Congress about the safety of replacement products being used in the recall.

BLOOMBERG