Posts Tagged ‘takata’

Why Those Takata Airbags Didn’t Work Right

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Automakers afflicted by the recent Takata airbag recalls have discovered three detailed causes for some of the inflator ruptures, according to initial findings from a study that will be available in the next couple of weeks.

One of the factors is phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate lacking a moisture-absorbing desiccant, as stated by the Independent Testing Coalition (ITC), a group of automakers formed in December of 2014 once they were named in the Japanese supplier’s recalls (BMW, Fiat-Chrysler, Honda, Ford, General Motors, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota).

That’s right. Always remember that this is a Japanese supplier, but this problem affects more than Japanese car makers. It’s certainly no reason to avoid buying a Japanese car brand.

According to the ITC, when moisture is present, “long-term exposure to repeated high-temperature cycling” and airbag inflator assemblies that do “not adequately prevent moisture intrusion” were also recognized, the group stated that “all of which contribute to the rupture of Takata airbag inflators.”

The testing, which ran over 20,000 hours and was conducted by Virginia-based defense contractor Orbital ATK, who is known to build rocket engines and ammunition, concentrated on the roughly 23 million inflators recalled in 19 million cars in the United States. Orbital will be running further tests to take in an additional five million recalled Takata inflators within this upcoming month. The will also test inflators manufactured with desiccant and new inflators that were made with the intention to replace parts for the recall. Though, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has acknowledged that this plan may not work in the long run. In an attempt to avoid that issue, Orbital will run an aging test.

In an earlier and separate report, NHTSA vehicle integrity chief Scott Yon stated that “long-term” testing can take five years or more. “The propellant wafers enlarge over time, at which point they become too large and begin to cause ruptures,” Yon wrote.

“This is not short term exposure to high absolute humidity like during a 2-week vacation or even for 5 months each winter,” he wrote. “It is continued exposure to high absolute humidity year round for multiple years in a row.”

As a result of the testing, NHTSA’s November consent order with Takata, in which it was fined $70 million over several years, might need to be amended. That’s how minority staff in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation put it in a new report after reviewing official internal Takata paperwork.

“To protect the public from an unreasonable risk to safety, Committee minority staff believe that NHTSA should immediately exercise its authority under the Consent Order and Coordinated Remedy to accelerate the phase-out schedule for non-desiccated ammonium nitrate-based inflators and to create a phase-out schedule for desiccated ammonium nitrate-based inflators.”

As per the consent order terms, Takata will have until 2018 to stop production of all non-desiccated ammonium-nitrate inflators and then until 2019 to demonstrate that ammonium nitrate is harmless within its most recent products. While Takata did agree to stop any incoming contracts for desiccated ammonium-nitrate inflators, there is no existing production cap on the inflators.

And The Winning Japanese Car Maker Of 2015 Is …

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

The results are in. And it’s clear that a lot of things happened in 2015. Toyota kept its crown as the largest automaker in the world. Recalls from the faulty Takata air bags reached an all-time high – especially in the United States. Honda, a Japanese a carmaker that’s not nearly as big as Toyota, reached a record year. Here’s your 2015 auto recap.

Toyota logo

Toyota Reaches the Top Again

Despite the fact that Toyota’s global production declined 2 percent last year, they still managed to sell 10,083,783 cars last year, beating both of Volkswagen and General Motors for the fourth year in a row. Volkswagen came in second place with their global sales number reaching 9.93 million. It wasn’t any surprise that their sales fell 2 percent in 2015 because of the emissions scandal in the first half of the year. General Motors was in third place with 9.8 million vehicles sold.

Toyota’s decline was due to 4.2 percent reduction in production in Japan, ending up with 4,035,434 units within the country borders, and a 0.4 percent production cut outside Japan, which brings their numbers to 6,048,349 foreign units sold.

The Takata Air Bags

Before every automaker cut ties with Takata, they were the largest air bag manufacturer in the world, serving both Japanese, German and U.S. automakers. A lawsuit those filed in Florida initiated a series of massive recalls. In the United States, 51.26 million cars were recalled due to the defective airbags.

The automakers, altogether announced almost 900 recalls, recalling over 50.99 million vehicles. Due to the strict safety regulations in the United States, this country had it the worst. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration raised the recall of vehicles installed with the defective Takata airbags by an additional 5 million units. Initially, it was 28 million units in 24 million cars.

Japanese cars were not the only ones affected by Takata. A new fatality, this time involving a Ford vehicle, raised this number by another 1 million recalls. Additional testing increased it by another 4 million. The thing is that since “Takata” sounds Japanese and is a Japanese company, the stain of its misdeeds has tended to disproportionately affect Japanese car makers.

Affected automakers included BMW, Honda, Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Ford, General Motors, Daimler Trucks North America and Daimler Vans USA LLC.

Honda Had a Record Year

Let’s not forget the great year Honda has had.

Honda’s auto production in Japan was down by 23.8 percent, selling a total of 730,493 units. However, they did raise production by a record 3,813,345 units elsewhere, outside of Japan. This equates to a 7.2 percent increase beyond Japan’s borders. Globally, the Japanese automaker produced 4,543,838 vehicles, giving them a record sales year for 2015. Comparing the numbers, Honda grew by 0.7 percent from 2014 to 2015.

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.