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Automobile air bags

WASHINGTON _ The National Traffic Safety Administration has ordered a recall of several 1990 and 1991 cars manufactured by General Motors, Ford, Honda and Mazda because of an air bag defect. The NTSB said Friday that the manufacturer of the air bags, TRW Inc., told the agency and the automakers that a defect in the air bag's inflator could expose drivers to hot gases and could cause the device to malfunction during a crash. TRW said the device may have been damaged during assembly. All of the automakers but Ford have been able to identify and locate the specific vehicles that were equipped with the defective inflators and are contacting owners directly. Ford will recall at least 55,000 vehicles for inspection and expects all defective inflators to be replaced by Nov. 5. The identified vehicles include some of the 1990 Taurus, Tempo, Crown Victoria, Sable, Topaz, Grand Marquis and Continental models. Some 1991 Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis vehicles may also be affected, the NTSB said. Some form of passive restraint _ either an air bag or an electronic seat and shoulder belt _ is required on the driver's side of all 1990 model cars sold in the United States.

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