Takata Corporation, a leading international maker and supplier of automotive safety systems headquartered in Tokyo, acknowledged that its airbag inflators have defect that led to the deaths of six people worldwide. In doing so, the company expands the number of vehicles recalled to nearly 34 million, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced on May 19.
Takata deadly airbags responsible for six deaths worldwide
Certain types of driver and passenger airbag inflators manufactured by Takata Corporation were made with a propellant that can degrade over time and has led to ruptures, Foxx said Tuesday. Regional recalls involved passenger-side inflators currently limited to areas of high humidity to 16 million vehicles nationwide and driver-side inflators of more than 17 million vehicles.
Takata has agreed to expand its airbag inflator recalls and has entered into a Consent Order with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA. Takata and NHTSA agreed to cooperate in all future regulatory actions, undertakings and investigations arising from the matter. The NHTSA is also beginning a legal process that shall organize and prioritize the replacement of defective Takata airbags with the agency overseeing all the legal aspects.
“Today is a major step forward for public safety. The Department of Transportation is taking the proactive steps necessary to ensure that defective inflators are replaced with safe ones as quickly as possible, and that the highest risks are addressed first. We will not stop our work until every air bag is replaced,” Secretary Foxx said in his announcement.
“From the very beginning, our goal has been simple: a safe air bag in every vehicle. The steps we’re taking today represent significant progress toward that goal. We all know that there is more work to do, for NHTSA, for the auto makers, for parts suppliers, and for consumers. But we are determined to get to our goal as rapidly as possible,” added NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.
Takata Corporation is pleased to have reached the agreement with NHTSA
Takata Corporation is more than willing to cooperate with the NHTSA in handling the matter, the company said in a separate announcement.
“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with NHTSA, which presents a clear path forward to advancing safety and restoring the trust of automakers and the driving public,” said Shigehisa Takada, Chairman & CEO of Takata Corporation.
“We have worked extensively with NHTSA and our automaker customers over the past year to collect and analyze a multitude of testing data in an effort to support actions that work for all parties and, most importantly, advance driver safety. We are committed to continuing to work closely with NHTSA and our automaker customers to do everything we can to advance the safety of drivers,” he stated.
The company said it has devoted tremendous resources in the research and development of its products. The defective airbag inflators is a complex issue which takes time to fully evaluate. It said that the initial investigation conducted by the company suggests that the reason behind the faulty airbags was not within the scope of the testing specifications prescribed by the vehicle manufacturers.
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