Takata Nationwide Recall Not Needed, Says SVPDecember 31, 2014
Takata Senior Vice President Hiroshi Shimizu told members of a Congressional subcommittee that there was “not enough scientific evidence” to support a Takata nationwide recall on the company’s defective airbags. The company has resisted calls from both Congress and federal safety agencies for a Takata nationwide recall, limiting their recalls to areas of high humidity. The company’s refusal to consider a nationwide recall may force federal authorities to pursue litigation against the manufacturer.
Safety Issues Spur Takata Nationwide Recall
The calls for a Takata nationwide recall began when reports linked the company’s airbags to at least five fatal accidents. Laboratory test showed that a chemical ingredient in the airbag deployment system could become extremely volatile in humid conditions. The volatile chemical was tied to several accidents in which the airbag system propelled metal and plastic shrapnel into the driver and front passenger seat occupants. Although Takata has issued a limited recall for regions with humid climates, such as Florida, Hawaii and the Gulf Coast states, executives have refused calls for a Takata nationwide recall.
Automakers Launch Takata Nationwide Recall Efforts
While the manufacturer has yet to issue a Takata nationwide recall, several automakers have acted on their own in that regard. BMW, Ford, Chrysler, Honda and Mazda have all issued their own Takata nationwide recalls for the affected vehicles. The automakers issued the nationwide recalls after accident reports in California and North Carolina told of exploding Takata airbag systems. The recalls are expected to include more than 20 million vehicles, including more than 5 million from Honda, Takata’s biggest customer.
NHTSA: Takata Nationwide Recall Necessary
David Friedman, Deputy Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, testified before Congress that the Takata nationwide recall was a necessary safety measure. He stated that the issue was not strictly limited to “areas of absolute, high humidity” and that the company’s limited recall was “no longer appropriate.” The agency later released a statement warning of serious penalties for both the manufacturer and the automakers if they did not take steps toward issuing Takata nationwide recalls.
New Counsel To Fight Takata Nationwide Recall?
The troubled manufacturer announced that it had appointed a new general counsel for its North American division. The company announced in a press release that Bruce D. Angiolillo would manage “all North American legal and regulatory matters” for the firm. The statement also read that Mr. Angiolillo would help the company “work cooperatively with” NHTSA regulators. The statement did not disclose how he or the company would respond to the continued requests for a Takata nationwide recall.
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