By on December 4, 2014

Takata

Hours after Takata informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it would not comply with the order to conduct a nationwide airbag recall in the United States, the agency took the supplier to task during Wednesday’s congressional hearing over the matter.

Bloomberg reports deputy administrator David Friedman cited data showing humidity is playing less of a factor in the catastrophic failures than previously proclaimed by Takata, adding that the agency would hire an independent expert within the week to conduct more tests.

Takata claimed in its letter to the NHTSA that a nationwide recall was not necessary, as there wasn’t enough reliable evidence to mandate such an action that would take away from fixing the problem in high-humidity zones, creating needless delays in conducting repairs. The supplier also took the agency to task for not providing enough notice, and that it was already on its way to improving the safety of its products.

Sens. Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut encouraged the NHTSA to force Takata into compliance, and to expand the nationwide recall to cover passenger-side airbags as well. Friedman said the agency’s next move would be to force said recall, which could take several weeks or months. He added that he didn’t have a set timetable to bring about the action.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

31 Comments on “Takata Faces Forced Recall After Defying NHTSA Order...”


  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Assuming that Takata is publicly held, anyone holding their stock is going to end up with a pile of worthless certificates in short order. Probably too late to get out now.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    WTH? Do they really think engaging in a public pissing contest with their regulator over the precise amount of water vapor it takes before their product explodes is going to end well? Even if Takata eventually “wins”, that’s going to take years. Are they going to have any customers left at that point? (Answer: No.) And, if Takata eventually loses, every automaker that foolishly continued to use their products is going to get asked uncomfortable questions in lawsuits as to why they continued their use, despite the risk. (“Well, it hadn’t yet been PROVEN they were excessively explode-y!” is not an answer guaranteed to endear you to a jury.)

    I guarantee every automaker that uses their products is having turbocharged talks with alternate suppliers by now. (Okay, maybe Takata can still sell to the Chinese, but I have a funny feeling that ain’t exactly a cash cow kind of business, since they already have ready domestic sources of poorly-made airbags.)

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    The witch hunt inside Takata must be horrible right now.
    Lawyers must be swarming on everyone’s computers and desks for the tiniest piece of evidence.

    An acquaintance once lived thru a seatbelt recall (nowhere as dramatic as what Takata is going thru right now).

    He mentioned that, lawyers had an all employees meeting, and sternly warned from deleting ANYTHING at all from the work computer, and that included personal files and/or photos.
    The computer files would then be copied and reviewed by several persons.

    As anyone who is on their work computer, you fully understand how embarrassing this can be.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    I would hate to be a Takata employee right now.
    The internal witch hunt should be terrible.

  • avatar
    Sky_Render

    I normally despise frivolous lawsuits, needlessly large torts, and the like. But at this point, Takata needs to be sued into oblivion.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      Because their competitors are shining angels and we’d never have this situation again?

      Just don’t put IEDs in our cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Sky_Render

        No, because Takata has–on numerous occasions–covered up and/or downplayed the defect.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          This

        • 0 avatar
          TrailerTrash

          Not to be a ninny here…but I would like to request a little detail. I saw a number released yesterday from Takata showing the fail on these is less than .00006, or something close.
          Are other failures of higher percentages given the same thrashing and combing?
          Is this kind of small for such a whipping?
          But then again, I could never understand the forced placement of airbags. If you would simply use your seatbelts correctly there wouldn’t be an issue.
          And EVEN if you have airbags, those who do NOT use them can still sue the auto manufacturer in an accident for damages.
          Veeeerrry strange society in which we live.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Because a couple out of several million products didn’t work as intended a few decades past their expiry date? If you’re playing with explosives in enough cars, eventually you will get a bang out of it.

      This is also another instance where by far the one with the most to lose from an “incident”, is the vehicle’s owner/driver. Hence there is plenty of incentives naturally in place to push people in the direction of a remedy. No taxfeeders and ambulance chasers required. Just like with cigarettes and health problems, in fact.

      And for those infinitesimally rare instances of a third party being hurt due to someome unusually blasee other’s airbag explodes while he is driving through a school zone, the total social cost of less safety technology being affordable to less people because everyone who wants to sell it has to include a cost item of $5 billion for tax feeders and ambulance chasers, will vastly outweigh the gains from the one in a million dead kid.

      But, tax feeders and ambulance chasers rule the land. Supported by those for whom the extra $100/airbag equipped car is a drop in the bucket, so what do they care, when they can preen around [pretending to care about anyone but themselves for another news cycle…

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        Gotta say, I’ve never before seen “blasé” and “explode” in the same sentence.

      • 0 avatar
        Sky_Render

        So, based on your first sentence, do you think that airbags should be replaced every ~10 years or so? Honestly, that wouldn’t be a bad thing, in my opinion. Though I could see it being VERY expensive in modern cars equipped with a score of airbags.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Perhaps people would be more mindful of that particular cost when plonking down money for a car, if they themselves had to pay for maintenance, instead of being able to sorta-kinda pretend Saint Ambulance Chaser would force someone else to do it for them?

        • 0 avatar
          Beachbunny

          IIRC, in the early Mercedes-Benz cars equipped with airbags, there was a sticker in the glovebox lid which said the airbags MUST be replaced after 10 years. I don’t see anything like this anymore. While not quite the same mechanism, but similar idea, inflatable liferafts & inflatable life jackets all have expiry dates on them.

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        Other airbag makers seem to have mastered the fine art of “Not Spraying Shrapnel Into People For No Particular Reason”. Takata used an older, known-unstable propellant, confirmed to themselves it was a bad idea after it spontaneously exploded a few times, and then decided to sweep the whole mess under the rug so they could continue saving a few dollars on the inflators. A more stable propellant would not have raised the cost of the bag that much.

        This is the EXACT sort of behavior lawsuits exist for.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          +1, sirwired.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          This.

          Anyone defending Takata must have been an ardent GM and Toyota defender also – I mean the behaviors are basically the same.

          Save a few bucks, cover up, cozy up to regulators, silence the engineers, celebrate the bean counters, bury the evidence, pay off the survivors of the dead to keep quiet.

          Ahhhh….so glad to see they are such well run companies.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @APaGttH

            Circle of life.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Because GM, Takata and Toyota have been such blights on humanity. Such people really should be put out of business!

            How much nicer wouldn’t the world be if everyone instead was a well meaning, altruistic ambulance chaser and tax feeder standing on the almighty TV extolling their own greatness, instead of those annoying non telegenic introverts building stuff……

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Not Spraying shrapnel into anyone YET. Takata’s bags didn’t either, until they did.

          Lawsuits exist to enrich lawyers.

          Again, if I had a potentially affected Takata airbag in my car, I would have every incentive to remedy the problem. Either yank it, or replace it. Problem solved. No lawyer enrichment program required.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        …Because a couple out of several million products didn’t work as intended a few decades past their expiry date?…

        Huh, here I thought that the problems were in cars newer than the 1970’s malaise era, and I had no idea that Honda, Toyota, et al was installing airbags en masse in their products.

  • avatar
    Frownsworth

    Sumo attitude. Immovable till seppuku.

  • avatar
    tubacity

    It’s the Bomb.
    Ammonium nitrate is used by Takata but not other makers. It’s cheaper. It makes a better bomb.
    If it’s good enough for Timothy McVeigh who bombed the Murrah Bldg in Oklahoma City, it’s good enough for me.

    “McVeigh planned to construct a bomb containing more than 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg) of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, mixed with about 1,200 pounds (540 kg) of liquid nitromethane and 350 pounds (160 kg) of Tovex…Of the 13 filled barrels, nine contained ammonium nitrate and nitromethane, and four contained a mixture of the fertilizer and about 4 U.S. gallons (3.3 imp gal; 15 L) of diesel fuel”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklahoma_City_bombing

    “by 2001 Takata had switched to an alternative formula, ammonium nitrate, and started sending the airbags to automakers, including Honda.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/20/business/takatas-switch-to-cheaper-airbag-propellant-is-at-center-of-crisis.html?_r=0

  • avatar

    It is a revenge for A-bombs dropped by US military. Imagine if all Takata airbags explode at once.

  • avatar

    On the other hand 10 times more people died from GM ignition switches than from Takata airbags.

  • avatar
    Beachbunny

    I’ve often wondered why airbags were so highly touted. They’re promoted as soft, pillow-like devices, when the reality is that they are indeed bombs with very thick/unforgiving fabric.

    • 0 avatar
      bk_moto

      I don’t know that anyone ever promoted them as such but yes they do deploy violently which is necessary for them to inflate in time to prevent you from slamming into the steering wheel and dashboard.

      Perhaps the typically seen time-lapse videos of airbags deploying are a bit misleading if you’re not aware that they’re time-lapse. Search out a real-time video for comparison.

      The theory is that it’s better to have some abrasions and possibly 1st-degree burns from the airbag as opposed to being slammed into all the hard parts in a severe collision. The kind of collision where you’re gonna be injured or dead no matter what and where the use of such a device may mitigate your injuries or keep you from being killed.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • APaGttH: Dr. Venture approves
  • Scoutdude: Or they don’t comprehend that it has tow ratings “up to 14K, when properly equipped” and...
  • Russycle: “The biggest difference upfront is a narrower grille combined with a larger lower front fascia,...
  • Stanley Steamer: I’ve had this extremely similar idea for decades. I envisioned an egg shaped pod suspended on...
  • Michael S6: EV sales are limited by constrained battery production as well as by high prices. Number of dealers...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber