Unfortunately, the Pontiac Vibe has suffered from a number of airbag-related recalls and issues, largely due to the Takata airbags the vehicles can equipped from the factory with. However, the latest airbag problem is so dangerous that General Motors is advising Vibe owners against driving their vehicle altogether.
According to a report from the Associated Press, 2003 and 2004 Pontiac Vibe models may have a condition where the Takata airbag inflator has the potential to explode and subsequently hurl shrapnel toward the vehicle’s occupants. Notably, there are roughly 11,000 affected Vibe units throughout the United States.
Of course, the Pontiac Vibe is actually heavily based off the Toyota Matrix and Toyota Corolla, both of which are also included in this warning. In fact, the Vibe and Matrix were both built at the former Toyota-GM joint venture NUMMI assembly plant in Fremont, California. Second-generation Vibe production ended in 2009, and the facility was purchased by Tesla in 2010.
“If the air bag deploys, a part inside is more likely to explode and shoot sharp metal fragments, which could cause serious injury or death to the driver or passengers,” a spokesperson from Japanese-based automaker Toyota was quoted as stating.
It’s worth noting that at the time of this writing, this particular recall wasn’t yet published on the NHTSA’s website.
Interestingly, the last first-gen Pontiac Vibe recall, which occurred back in January 2020, was related to a condition where replaced airbags would fail to deploy properly in certain high-temperature conditions, thus increasing the risk of injury in the event of a crash. To remedy this, certified GM technicians were to inspect affected vehicles and replace the airbag module, as necessary, free of charge.
Notably, it was believed that the faulty replacement inflators in that recall did not pose the same risk as other Takata airbag inflators, which is to say explode and send shrapnel flying.