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US said to mull recalling tens of millions more Takata airbag inflators

Reuters reports that this expansion would be nearly a fourfold increase in the number of recalled Takata parts.

A technician holds a recalled Takata airbag inflator from a Honda Pilot.

Joe Skipper/Reuters/Corbis

When one of the world's leading airbag-component manufacturers has a problem with its products, you'd expect the recall to be big. But big doesn't do justice to the scope of Takata's current issue -- if US regulators have their way, its recall could expand into the nine-digit range.

Reuters reports that the US is currently mulling an expansion of Takata's airbag-inflator recall, which already covers some 29 million parts, to include between 70 and 90 million additional inflators.

The inflators in question might malfunction and send shrapnel into the cabin, which has been linked to nine deaths in the US. In all, some 120 million of these inflators exist in vehicles on the road, according to documents Reuters verified.

"Takata is cooperating fully with regulators and our automotive customers and continues to take aggressive action to advance vehicle safety," the company said in an emailed statement. "Takata will continue to work cooperatively with NHTSA and automakers to meet all required safety standards."

Several automakers, including Honda, General Motors and Toyota have already issued individual recalls related to this issue. Takata itself cannot issue recalls -- it can only relay its findings to the automakers, at which point it's up to each automaker to decide the appropriate next step.