The scandal surrounding Takata’s massive, on-going safety recall continues to mount as testimony emerges that Takata knew of the hazards as far back as 2000.
Japanese airbag company Takata has continued to insist that the propellant in its airbags is safe to use in spite of the wash of airbag recalls following multiple deaths and injuries.
When the New York Times declared the company had been aware of issues with the bags for years prior to the first consumer incident, they strongly denied the claims. However, recent testimony has revealed the truth of those statements.
So far, the defective airbags have been linked to hundreds of injuries and at least 10 deaths.
Testimony emerged last Friday in a Florida court showing that Takata engineers had discarded evidence which could have proved the danger as long as 16 years ago. In 2000, around when the company first began utilizing the compound ammonium nitrate within its propellant for use within Takata models, failures occurred during initial testing.
Senior executive Al Bernat ordered the evidence of those failures to be discarded and altered the test data sent to Honda. This same executive, who still works for the company, has also been linked to a series of airbag tests in 2004 in which test engineers say that evidence had been discarded.
When Honda, the company’s biggest customer, discovered the manipulation of data they released a statement declaring they would cease use of any components made by Takata. This prompted similar statements by Toyota, Mazda, Honda, and Ford.
Both the NHTSA and Japan’s transport ministry have banned Takata airbag inflators that utilize ammonium nitrate as the propellant from being installed in future cars.