Feds call for recall of 'millions of vehicles' over Takata air bags

NHTSA seeking more info on Takata air bags

The federal government called for a nationwide recall of "millions of vehicles" on Tuesday over issues regarding air bags made by Takata.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it contacted Takata and affected vehicle manufacturers this week to ask for the recall "after evaluating a recent incident that involved a failure in a driver's side air bag inflator outside an area of high absolute humidity."

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Previously, cars have been recalled only in areas along the Gulf Coast with high humidity. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it's basing the decision on a recent incident that happened outside of those areas.

Air bags made by Takata can explode with too much force, sending shrapnel into the passenger compartment.

A NHTSA deputy administrator said Takata has expressed "an unwillingness to move forward" on a national recall.

Unless Takata and the manufacturers "quickly agree" to the recall, NHTSA said, the agency will "use the full extent of its statutory powers" to ensure the recall is conducted.

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"By issuing this national recall, NHTSA has demonstrated once again that it will follow data and evidence to protect the lives of Americans on the road and to hold manufacturers accountable," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in an announcement.

The agency also said that it issued an order to Takata and all 10 auto companies that use the air bag inflators—BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota—requiring each manufacturer to issue a detailed report about ongoing testing of the products outside of the high-humidity regions that already had recalls in place.

—The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.