According to Auto Maker News, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) continues to make legal preparation as Takata Corp. resists the U.S. regulator’s request for an expansion of the worldwide airbag inflator recall.
U.S. Regulators Move Forward with Takata Investigations
Takata Corp. has been under scrutiny by The National Highway Safety Administration and U.S. Department of Justice due to the supplier’s alleged delay in issuing a safety recall in regard to an airbag inflator defect that is projected to affect over 20 million vehicles worldwide.
NHTSA has been reviewing thousands of documents from Takata and the 12 automakers affected by the recall.
Tension between Takata Corp. and U.S. regulators has been rising as Takata resists the NHSTA’s request to expand the airbag recall outside geographically high-humidity areas. Although the initial cause of the airbag defect was suspected to involve high humidity, research reveals deaths that have occurred outside of these areas.
Takata claims the recalls at automaker’s responsibilities and maintains that the U.S. evidence is lacking.
About the Takata Recalls
- In April 2013, Takata Corp. announced a defect with airbag inflators may cause the airbags to deploy incorrectly and explode, sending metal shards throughout vehicles.
- Over 20 million vehicles have been recalled from 11 automakers around the world.
- Automakers affected include Honda, Toyota, Chrysler, Ford, Nissan, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Mazda and BMW.
- The recall has been linked to five deaths and numerous injuries in the United States. All five deaths were associated with Honda Motor Co. vehicles.
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Two Honda insiders allege that tests conducted by the automaker found quality control issues with Takata’s airbags.
Honda Seeks Answers in Takata Fiasco
“We doubted if Takata was producing airbags to the specification we had mutually agreed on. When we did not receive a clear analysis of what was happening, we dicided to conduct our own tests.” – Honda insider as published by Reuters
According to Reuters, Honda grew so frustrated with Takata’s failure to identify a root cause for a series of violent airbag explosions that it decided to take matters into its own hands.
Two senior Honda insiders have revealed that the automaker gathered used and scrapped cars in order to test the recalled airbags at its quality center in Utsunomiya, Japan. In all, the automaker tested between 100 and 150 airbags.
The results of the tests indicated that there were issues with Takata’s manufacturing process, leaving Honda to question the competency of one of its core suppliers.
“We found the quality of those inflators to be all over the map in term of key quality metrics,” claimed one of the insiders.
The tests also revealed that the mix of ammonium nitrate and secondary ingredients that result in the inflation of the airbag strayed from Honda-approved recipes, with one of the insiders noting colorings consistent with damage from exposure to moisture.
Takata has questioned the validity of the test and the credibility of the two Honda insiders, but Honda did confirm that they regularly conduct component quality tests when defects are suspected.
About the Takata Recall
- More than 20 million vehicles have been in connection with the Takata airbags.
- Recall reports state that the airbags can deploy with excess force, causing them to rupture. This result in metal shrapnel being sprayed throughout vehicle cabins.
- Five deaths and hundreds of injuries have been linked to the airbag issue.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Justice have both launched investigations into Takata’s handling of the faulty airbags.
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According to reports, Ford Motor Co. has announced that they will expand their recall for vehicles equipped with potentially defective airbags manufactured by Takata to cover an additional 447,310 vehicles.
About the Recall Expansion
Ford’s announcement comes after continued pressure from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), urging all automakers to issue nationwide recalls for vehicles equipped with faulty Takata airbags that could explode upon deployment.
The expansion brings the total number of vehicles recalled by Ford to 502,489 – more than 20 million vehicles have been recalled by automakers worldwide.
Recall reports indicate that the airbags may deploy with excess force, causing the airbags to rupture. When this occurs, metal shards and pieces of plastic are ejected through vehicle cabins.
Takata has continued to claim that the airbag recalls should be limited to certain regions, alleging the issue is linked to high humidity; however, NHTSA has cited instances in which involved vehicles in less humid regions, including north California and Oklahoma.
So far the airbags have been linked to 5 deaths and more than 100 injuries.
Vehicles Included in Ford’s Takata Recall
The following vehicles are affected by Ford’s Takata recall:
- 2004 Ford Ranger
- 2005-2006 Ford GT
- 2005-2007 Ford Mustang
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