Automakers Kia, Hyundai, and FCA (Fiat-Chrysler) recalled approximately 12.3 million vehicles due to faulty airbag control units (ACU), which posed the risk failing to engage the airbags in the event of a collision. The same defect is also linked to Toyota, Acura, Honda, Mitsubishi, Porsche, and Volkswagen vehicles. On July 15, 2019, MLG’s auto lawyers filed a class action lawsuit against seven auto manufacturers and the ACU manufacturer, ZF TRW Automotive Holdings Corp., relating to this massive recall. The lawsuit, entitled Baldwin v. Kia (Case No. 8:19-cv-01376), was filed in Federal Court.
Under National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulations, a manufacturer has five days to report a known safety defect. In 2018 NHTSA launched an investigation into the matter, only to find out that ZF-TRW had been having in-depth discussions with manufacturers about the defective ACU since at least 2011.
In April 2019, NHTSA elevated the investigation to an Engineering Analysis and expanded the scope of the investigation to include other manufacturers who had installed the ZF-TRW made ACU in their production vehicles. At its early investigation stages, NHTSA has confirmed that the defective ACU has been linked to at least four deaths; however, NHTSA complaint logs confirm that many more fatalities have been reported to NHTSA that are still under investigation.