Beleaguered airbag maker Takata will recall a further 35 to 40 million inflators in the United States, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Wednesday.

The airbags made by the Japanese supplier can reportedly rupture explosively in a collision, spraying metal fragments at drivers and passengers.

Combined with the 28.8 million Takata inflators already under recall because of links to deaths and injuries, the action amounts to the largest and most complex recall in US history, NHTSA head Mark Rosekind said.

Takata said it was not aware of any ruptures in the inflators targeted in the latest recall, nor of any scientific evidence of any serious associated risk, Japan's Jiji Press reported, citing unnamed sources in the company's US office.

Rosekind said the issue was "urgent," and he implored all car owners to take action immediately if their vehicle appeared on the recall list.

The agency acted after confirming the root cause of the ruptures - a combination of age of the airbag, environmental moisture and high temperature fluctuations that cause the inflators' ammonium nitrate propellent to degrade.

"This degradation can cause the propellant to burn too quickly, which creates too much pressure, and can rupture the inflator module and send dangerous shrapnel through the air bag and potentially injuring or killing vehicle occupants," Rosekind said.

“The science now clearly shows that these inflators become unsafe over time, faster when exposed to high humidity and variations of temperature,” he said, adding that a phased recall schedule will address the inflators before they become dangerous.

The expanded recall will take place in five phases beginning this month and extending to December 2019.

"Today’s action is a significant step in the US Department of Transportation’s aggressive oversight of Takata on behalf of drivers and passengers across America,” US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.

"The acceleration of this recall is based on scientific evidence and will protect all Americans from air bag inflators that may become unsafe," Foxx said.

Honda disclosed Wednesday two people died in Malaysia when their Takata-made airbags ruptured in two separate incidents in April and May. The cars involved - a 2003- and 2006-model Honda City - had been under recall.

These are the second and third deaths involving faulty Takata airbags in Malaysia. Thirteen deaths and many injuries have now been linked to the defect worldwide. In the US alone, 10 deaths have been reported - the latest on March 31 - and hundreds of injuries, according to NHTSA.

Carmakers have recalled more than 50 million vehicles with Takata airbags globally since 2008. The recalls have hit profits at firms including Honda and Mazda.

Japanese media reported in late April that a major further recall by the US was thought to be imminent.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.