Panel Oversees Takata Airbag Inflator Recall ProcessJanuary 21, 2015
An independent panel of former federal officials and business leaders will oversee the Takata airbag inflator recall process. The panel’s objectives will include auditing the company’s current manufacturing processes, refining the firm’s corporate decision-making procedures since the massive Takata airbag inflator recall, and examining the controversial chemical propellant used in the airbag inflator systems. The panel will be chaired by former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Samuel Skinner and will include former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury John Snow.
Fatal Accidents Prompt Takata Airbag Inflator Recall
Reports of fatal accidents from exploding airbag systems spurred the Takata airbag inflator recall late last year. Accident reports showed that the airbag assembly system could explode upon deployment. Front seat passengers were killed or injured when metal and plastic shrapnel burst from the airbag assembly. Laboratory tests later showed that the chemical used to inflate the airbags could become volatile in humid conditions. The company issued a limited Takata airbag inflator recall for car owners in humid climates, such as Florida, Hawaii and the Gulf Coast region.
Members of Takata Airbag Inflator Recall Panel
The members of the Takata airbag inflator recall panel have either extensive business experience, years of government service, or both. Prior to his service with the Treasury Department, Mr. Snow served as the CEO of CSX Corporation, a leader in the rail freight industry. He now serves as Chairman of the private equity group Cerberus. Other members include former NTSB chairwoman Marion Blakely, former Tyco executive Nelda Connors, executive vice president of Abbott Laboratories John Landgraf, dean of the school of engineering at Northwestern University Julio Ottino, and former NHTSA administrator Jeffrey Runge.
Takata Airbag Inflator Recall Will Not Examine Root Causes
Although the Takata airbag inflator recall panel has been tasked with examining the company’s processes after the recall, its charter does not include determining the root causes that led to the recalls. Mr. Skinner announced that “other people” will be examining the events that led up to the Takata airbag inflator recall, including allegations that the company covered up the problem a decade ago. The panel expects to deliver a report on how the company can improve its processes in the next 18 to 24 months.
Source: Automotive News
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