Airbag manufacturer accused of cover-up

BY CHARL BOSCH - NOVEMBER 7, 2014

Japanese components manufacturer, Takata, have been accessed of destroying test results relating to faulty airbag inflators which has resulted in the global recall of 17-million vehicles.

According to Reuters, test carried out on the inflators, which consists out of a steel canister containing explosives, revealed that they were prone to cracking, after an incident in 2004 which saw the canister exploding and sending metal fragments at the driver of a then two year old Honda Accord in the US-state of Alabama.

During a similar incident in 2010, Georgia-state college student Kirsty Williams, 25 at the time, spend two weeks in the Intensive Care Unit of an Atlanta hospital after both driver and passenger airbags in her 2001 Honda Civic exploded while she was stationary at a red light. Flying pieces of shrapnel ended up severing her carotid artery, causing massive blood loss as well as multiple stokes and a seizure in the ensuing weeks. An out of court settlement was later agreed upon with Honda.

Citing an article in the New York Times, two former Takata employees claim that 50 unexploded airbags had been salvaged for testing not long after the former incident and that company executives had ordered the findings to be destroyed instead of bringing the matter to the attention of the US Federal Safety Regulator.

A total of 11 car makers have so far been affected by recall which includes models from BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Pontiac, Subaru and Toyota.

Out of the brands, Honda and its luxury division, Acura, had been hit the hardest with 7.6-million recalls in North America and 9.5-million units globally since 2008. Models effected includes the Accord (2001-2007), Civic (2001-2005), Civic Hybrid (2003), CR-V (2002-2006), Element (2003-2011), Odyssey (2002-2004), Pilot (2003-2007) and Ridgeline (2006), while those from Acura are the CL (2002-2003), MDX (2003-2006), RL (2005) and TL (2003-2003).

No confirmed reports of vehicles in South Africa with the same fault have emerged so far.

 

CAPTIN: Takata's manufacturing plant in Monclova, Mexico. IMAGE sourced from www.japantimes.co.jp