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NHTSA: 85 million Takata airbags could still face recalls

First official tally of remaining air bags released.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced Wednesday that there are 85 million Takata air bags on U.S. roads that are not yet the subject of any recall campaigns.

That could change shortly, as NHTSA is pressuring the troubled air bag supplier to demonstrate the safety of those remaining units, lest it order all of them recalled proactively.

According to Reuters, NHTSA-backed recall campaigns have been launched for some 28 million units known to be of the faulty design that has been blamed for at least ten deaths.

It is not known whether the remaining 85 million exhibit the same alleged defects as the units already under recall, but NHTSA doesn't seem interested in taking chances.

It would be bad news for automakers in the short-term, as some are already facing overwhelming backlogs for existing recalls. In the long-term, Takata itself could face as much as $24 billion in associated costs and automakers are already looking elsewhere for replacement units.

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