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Air bag maker to declare 33.8 million vehicles defective

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(Reuters) — Japanese air bag manufacturer Takata Corp. is expected to declare about 33.8 million vehicles defective on Tuesday, a move that is expected to lead to the largest auto recall in U.S. history, the Detroit News reported, citing three officials briefed on the announcement.

The company is expected to announce that it has filed a series of four defect information reports with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, declaring both driver and passenger air bag inflators defective in the vehicles, the report said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and the NHTSA said earlier that they would make a “major” announcement related to the air bag recall.

Takata had no immediate comment on the report.

The number of vehicles with potentially defective Takata air bags recalled globally since 2008 has risen to around 36 million following recalls over the past week by Japan's Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd.

The automakers have said that they decided to proceed with the recalls after finding some Takata air bag inflators were not sealed properly, allowing moisture to seep into the propellant casing. Moisture damages the propellant and can lead to an inflator exploding with too much force, shooting shrapnel inside the vehicle.

Six deaths have been linked to the defective air bags, all in cars made by Honda, which has borne the brunt of the Takata recalls to date and which gave a disappointing profit forecast last month due to higher costs related to quality fixes.