The decision by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration included some Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Sierra and GMC Yukon vehicles built over an eight-year period.
"NHTSA concluded that the GM inflators in question are at risk of the same type of explosion after long-term exposure to high heat and humidity as other recalled Takata inflators,” the agency said.
GM has 30 days to give NHTSA a schedule for notifying vehicle owners to start the recall.
The recall will cost GM an estimated $1.2 billion.
GM said, "The safety and trust of those who drive our vehicles is at the forefront of everything we do at General Motors."
The company maintained that the “recall of these vehicles is not warranted based on the factual and scientific record” but said that it would nonetheless take the necessary steps to replace the airbag inflators in the vehicles in question.
The potentially dangerous Takata airbag inflators can in rare instances lead to them rupturing and sending potentially deadly metal fragments flying.
Twenty-seven people have been killed worldwide by the exploding inflators, including 18 in the U.S.
Last week, GM said it would offer 30 all-electric models globally by 2025, with 40% of the automaker's U.S. models being battery-electric vehicles by that time.
Shares of GM were up 2.17% to $43.97 at last check.