Honda, Mazda and Toyota All Drop Takata As A Premier Air Bag Supplier

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, January 9th, 2016

It’s not exactly industry news that Takata has been accused of altering air bag test data, but The New York Times has some new data to add to the story. Accordingly, The New York Times claims that they have gotten their hands on series of emails that shows that Takata employees joked around about altering air bag data, going as far as to doctor the results.

These messages were added to an incriminating lawsuit against Takata and Florida wherein of the airbags deployed, leaving her in a paraplegic state. She was paralyzed.
The emails were noted as having “gone beyond all reasonable bounds and now most likely constitutes fraud.”

Takata argues back

Takata was quick to argue back, saying that these emails were talking about the formatting of a presentation. In other words, they were taken completely out of context and had nothing to do with the current trend of recalling all the cars that carried Takata’s airbags.

This is not the first allegation of altered data

The New York Times gave Takata a rebuttal, claiming that this is not the first time that Takata has been accused of changing the test results of their airbags. They quote a Wall Street Journal investigation that took place in 2015 that revealed, at the very least, concerned that Takata might have been guilty of data alteration.
Honda was the first to drop Takata as an air bag supplier once they got a hold of the “faulty statistics.”

The $70 million (or $200 million) fine

In conjunction with the lawsuit in Florida, The United States Department of Transportation slaps Takata with a $70 million fine and is not done there. The penalty could be increased to up to $200 million. Following Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Ford all dropped Takata as their premier air bag supplier. At the very least, they were cited for refusing to use inflators powered by Takata signature ammonium nitrate propellant, now and in the future.

Frankly, given the billions of fines that VW is being targeted with, this looks like a paltry amount. Yes, pollution damages and kills, but not in quite the same instat and shocking way that these defective airbags do. One would have expected a much higher fine to be levied.

In the United States alone, over 19 million vehicles have been recalled because of the quality of the Takata airbags. Even still, these airbags may pose a danger. At the moment, nine deaths have been confirmed globally by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration relating to Takata’s airbags. The latest happened when a 13-year-old boy died while driving a 2001 Honda Accord coupe in December 2015.

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