Operator Error – Ford Recalls 2021 Bronco for Bad Airbags

Ford Motor is recalling 2021 Bronco vehicles for unsafe airbags. During passenger air bag deployment, an air bag vent could open prematurely and result in an improper deployment. The new Bronco trucks fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 208, “Occupant Crash Protection.” The defect was traced to a Mexican assembler who improperly folded the airbags. (Ford Bronco Production Underway at Michigan Assembly Plant)

Last August problems about the  2021 Ford Bronco passenger airbag were brought to Ford’s Critical Concerns Review Group (CCRG) for review. The supplier, Mexican based Joyson, told Ford that a vent on the airbag had opened prematurely, prior to the micro gas-generator being activated, in some routine lot acceptance audit tests. Airbag lots with these test anomalies were quarantined, though the cause of the premature vent opening was unknown.

Further review of the supplier’s test data found test anomalies were completely associated with bags folded by one of the six associates assigned to the airbag fold operation. It was eventually determined that this distinct associate began introducing an extra fold operation when reassigned to this fold operation in late June.

While the extra fold operation by this associate was not in accordance with design intent, Ford did not explain the lapse in critically needed training in the assembly plant in the required NHTSA filing. “Review of the supplier’s production records found that additional airbag lots that passed the supplier’s routine LAT test requirements also contained bags folded by this associate but were not selected for the routine LAT audit test,” Ford told NHTSA.

Ford conducted Computer Aided Engineering (CAE ) analysis to evaluate the potential effects of premature vent opening. The results predicted a potential risk of not meeting certain crash performance criteria with respect to FMVSS 208.

On September 27, 2021, Ford’s Field Review Committee reviewed the concern and approved a recall, Ford is not aware of any reports of accident or injury related to this safety defect.

Owners will be notified by mail and instructed to take their vehicle to a Ford or Lincoln dealer to have the passenger airbag replaced. As required by law.

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