The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has drafted letters to 12 major automakers that failed to meet a December 2017 deadline for completing repairs on high-priority vehicles equipped with defective Takata airbag inflators.
According to Reuters, NHTSA contacted Honda Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp, General Motors Co., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Co., and several other car manufacturers after the companies failed to complete necessary repairs on vehicles deemed to be in the highest priority groups of the Takata airbag recalls by a deadline previously set by the regulatory agency.
NHTSA says the 12 automakers have collectively repaired about 65 percent of the 20 million vehicles included in the highest priority group, leaving about 7 million other vehicles unrepaired. Beyond this priority group, an additional 23 million U.S. vehicles from 19 automakers remain equipped with defective Takata airbag inflators that can explode when deployed
The defective airbags have been linked to at least 22 deaths and more than 290 injuries worldwide. Reports show that the Takata airbag inflators can deploy with too much force, causing the airbags to rupture and eject metal shrapnel into vehicle cabins and occupants.
The defect and resulting recall costs led to Takata filing for bankruptcy protection in June 2017.
In addition to criticizing Takata and automakers for their handling of the airbag recalls, lawmakers have scrutinized NHTSA, saying the agency is not doing enough to prod automakers to fix vehicles. The recalls and NHTSA’s response were the subject of a U.S. Senate hearing in march.
In a letter, Heidi King, who has served as deputy NHTSA administrator since September, said she was “deeply concerned” by the current repair figures. Last week, Senator Bill Nelson called on King to speed up recall and repair efforts.
In 2017, Takata pleaded guilty to a single felony count of wire fraud and agreed to a $1 billion settlement to resolve a U.S. Justice Department investigation.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a defective and dangerous Takata airbag, call Thomas J. Henry today. Our attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim and provide you with a free legal consultation. Our firm has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Houston, serving clients across Texas and nationwide.