There has been a ruckus concerning the recent airbag recall which affected millions of vehicles in America spanning more than a dozen brands. Takata, the Japanese supplier on the faulty inflator parts has been implicated leading to numerous legal issues as the issue also entail 17 deaths globally.
The issue involved defective inflator and propellant devices which could improperly deploy during a crash and shoot metal fragments into the occupants of the vehicle. About 42 million vehicles were affected in America only.
A Brief History on Takata Issues
There were originally six brands which had been affected when Takata announced the issue in 2013, though the Toyota recall along with admissions from the inflator producer stating it was not sure on the vehicles that had used the defective inflators or the root cause had made the automakers authorize more recalls for safety’s sake.
Though Toyota states there have been no related injuries or deaths concerning its vehicles, a report from the New York Times found a total of 139 reported injuries across different brands. The report also claimed that Takata and Honda had previous knowledge of the faulty equipment since the year 2004 though they failed to notify the NHTSA during the previous recall filings in 2008 that the airbags which were affected had ruptured or had been linked to injuries and deaths.
Takata had stated that their propellant chemicals were mishandled in the first place and improperly stored when they were being assembled and this led the metal airbags inflators to burst open because of excessive pressure during deployment. Documents reviewed by Reuters showed Takata’s position implying rust, bad welding and foreign materials dropped into inflators as the fault.
These same documents also show that in the year 2002, a plant in Mexico allowed defect rates which were at least six times above the acceptable limits or about 60 defective parts per 1 million airbag inflators that are shipped. Interestingly enough, the company’s position is they are yet to come to a conclusion so they can report what they know to the NHTSA. The level of negligence exhibited has evidently led to injury and death and shows a conscious effort to subdue due process from possibly more than one player.
Automakers Compromise on Quality
News broke in February that at least four automakers had previous knowledge the Takata airbags were dangerous and would rupture resulting in injury or even death, though they continued to use the airbags in the cars in order to save on cost. The manufacturers include Ford, Honda, Toyota and Nissan and they were facing litigation as part of a class action lawsuit in Florida according to company documents which allegedly provided evidence on a deep involvement by the brands in utilizing defective airbags from Takata.
There is evidence to prove this considering Ford chose the inflaters over objections from their own inflator expert that had opposed the use of the propellant considering its instability and sensitivity to moisture. Apparently, in its defense, Takata was the only supplier that could conveniently handle its needs. Representatives from the implicated brands withheld official statements on the active cases which in a sense is an admission of guilt or at least a legal move to cover their positions.
Thus far, Takata and affiliated automakers have proven automakers and parts suppliers frequently compromise on quality for the purpose of profits.
Recall and Repairs Delays
The spokesman for choice, Tom Godfrey claimed 50,000 vehicles were among the ones affected within the ranges of the auto manufacturers. Apparently, the brands have also been silent on the increased risk brought on by the new Alpha airbags. The standard ones tend to fail at a rate of one in 400 times, while the alpha airbags have a 50 percent rate of failing.
According to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) deputy chairwoman Delia Rickard, repairs and compensation claims are not being attended to fast enough. This is interesting considering Stephen Collins, a director at Honda has rejected claims the firm is not keeping adequate communication on this matter with their clients. Apparently, the auto manufacturers and clients are not on the same page as pertains claim negotiations. This is troubling as the firms have clearly benefitted of the profits of sales units.