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Continental recalls 5 million vehicles for a different kind of airbag problem

This recall, which is completely separate from Takata's recall, involves a faulty control unit.

Continental logo
Continental is more than just a tire company. It supplies parts for a variety of automotive systems, including airbags.

Takata isn't the only parts supplier having problems with its airbag components. Continental is also recalling 5 million vehicles worldwide, covering vehicles from Fiat Chrysler, Honda and others, for an issue with its airbag control units.

According to the supplier, the electronics within its airbags may fail. If that happens, the airbags may not deploy during a collision or, perhaps worse, may deploy randomly. This is different from Takata's recent recall, in which faulty inflators could possibly send shrapnel into the cabin.

But it's no less serious, and automakers are already moving to recall affected vehicles in the US. Honda issued a recall covering 341,000 2008-2010 Accord sedans late Wednesday. Reuters reports that the automaker has received over 1,000 warranty claims involving airbags that didn't deploy.

Fiat Chrysler issued one, as well, covering some 112,000 vehicles. Its recall includes the 2009 Dodge Journey, 2009 Volkswagen Routan and 2008-2009 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country. Daimler recalled vehicles in October 2015 for this issue, as well, covering roughly 126,000 C-Class and GLK-Class vehicles.

"We are working closely with all potentially impacted vehicle manufacturers on this issue," said Mary Arraf, a Continental spokeswoman. "As a supplier, we have provided all the pertinent information to all potentially impacted vehicle manufacturers. Each manufacturer determines whether a safety related defect exists in their vehicles."

It is unclear what other automakers are affected and just how many of those 5 million vehicles exist in the United States. Continental was first made aware of the problem in 2008 and made multiple changes to its control units in the following years, Reuters reported. It's believed the problem was finally solved with that final change, made in early 2011. As such, the recall covers control units built between 2006 and 2011.