The US transportation regulator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has rejected a request by US carmaker Ford to avoid recalling about three million cars due to defective airbags made by Takata.
Ford now has 30 days to submit a plan to notify affected car owners and fix the problems, it said.
A statement from Ford was not immediately available. A recall of this magnitude is likely to incur high costs.
According to NHTSA, the Ford models Ranger, Fusion and Edge from the 2006 to 2012 model years are affected, as well as certain vehicle types of the group’s Lincoln and Mercury brands.
The transportation regulator also ordered the recall of about 5,800 cars from Japanese manufacturer Mazda, which had also filed a petition against it with the agency.
In November, the largest U.S. automaker General Motors (GM) had already failed with such a petition and was ordered to repair about 5.9 million vehicles. At the time, the group assumed costs of around US$1.2 billion.
Defective Takata airbags have been causing problems for the automotive industry for years and have caused the largest US vehicle recall to date.
Air bags that deploy too easily and fling pieces of metal through the vehicle have been linked to numerous injuries and 29 deaths.
Takata has entered a guilty plea in the US for manufacturer defects and accepted a billion-dollar fine. The airbag debacle drove the company into insolvency in 2017.