Stellantis, the owner of brands Citroën and DS, is reportedly rushing to fix approximately 500,000 cars, Bloomberg reports.

The automaker informed its customers to stop driving Citroën and DS vehicles affected that were registered between 2009 and 2019 due to faulty airbags manufactured by Japan’s Takata Corp.

Speaking to French business television channel BFM Business, Stellantis’ Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Thierry Koskas said: “We are working closely with our networks and are taking care of our customers.”

Mr Koskas added that Stellantis is providing replacement vehicles and is sourcing new airbags from a different supplier.

In May this year, Stellantis started recalling Citroën C3s and DS 3s made between 2009 and 2019 for markets in France, southern Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

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What was wrong with Takata’s airbags?

In the 1990s, Takata began manufacturing airbag inflators with ammonium nitrate propellant.It was later noted internally these were not functioning correctly.

It was found that due to the extreme force of inflation, the airbag unit could shatter, propelling metal fragments into the car cabin causing injury or in some instances, death.

Takata went bankrupt in 2017 after pleading guilty to criminal charges in a US court, agreeing to pay US$1 billion in penalties, including a US$850 million to automakers and US$125 million to a victim compensation fund.

In 2015, it was found that Takata had manipulated test results on airbag inflators as far back as 2000, with at least eight deaths and 100 injuries linked to the faulty airbags.

In 2022, the US’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) “urgently” called on drivers to check for open Takata recalls on their vehicles.  

Which automakers were affected?

In addition to Stellantis, other automakers such as Toyota, General Motors, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, Nissan, and Ford were all affected by the recall of over 100 million defective airbags worldwide.

The NHTSA has issued a ‘do not drive’ warning for vehicles that “show a far higher risk of ruptures during airbag deployment than for other recalled Takata air bags.”