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Air bag recall to cost $610 million, Ford Motor Co. says

A federal recall of Takata air bags will cost Ford Motor Co. $610 million, the company reported in a federal filing Thursday.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Tuesday rejected a request from Ford and Mazda Motor Corp. to allow them not to recall around 3 million vehicles that had the potentially deadly air bag inflators inside them. 

The Ford vehicles that must be recalled are the Ford Ranger from 2007 to 2011, the Ford Fusion from 2006 to 2012, Ford Edge from 2006 to2012, the Lincoln Zephyr and MKZ from 2006 through 2012, the Lincoln MKX from 2007 to 2010, and the Mercury Milan from 2006 to 2011. 

Ford filed a form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday that addressed the recall and estimated the cost to the company would total $610 million. The cost will be reflected as a special item in the company's fourth-quarter 2020 financial results, which the Blue Oval is set to release Feb. 4.

The costly recall comes as the automaker continues to face financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, as well as costs associated with product launches — namely the redesigned 2021 F-150. 

The Takata air bags used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion that would inflate air bags in the case of a crash. However, regulators found the chemical can deteriorate and cause larger explosions that injure drivers. 

The air bags have killed 27 people globally, including 18 in the U.S. In May of last year, NHTSA said it would not make automakers recall Takata air bag inflators in newer model year vehicles. 

But the agency did recall millions of the air bags that had been supplied to 14 automakers for use in U.S. vehicles, including Honda Motor Co., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and BMW AG.

In November, NHTSA ordered General Motors Co. to recall and repair nearly 6 million pickups and SUVs equipped with the inflators. In total, aound 100 million Takata air bag inflators have been recalled globally. 

rbeggin@detroitnews.com

jgrzelewski@detroitnews.com