By on June 25, 2015

Shigehisa TakadaSpending a year out of the public eye since Takata’s airbag crisis exploded, president Shigehisa Takada publicly apologized for the situation Thursday.

Following the supplier’s annual shareholders meeting — where he made his last public appearance a year earlier — Takada bowed and apologized at a public conference over the eight fatalities and the hundreds of injuries caused by his company’s airbags over the past decade, Automotive News writes:

I apologize for not having been able to communicate directly earlier, and also apologize for people who died or were injured. I feel sorry our products hurt customers, despite the fact that we are a supplier of safety products.

Takada says his company is looking over ways to help those affected by the airbags, including the establishment of a compensation fund.

Meanwhile, shareholders took him to task for disappearing from the public eye instead of facing the music, the slow progress on the investigation into the root cause behind the catastrophic failures of Takata’s airbags, and the lack of dividends.

Regarding the last point, Takada says he hoped dividend payments would resume “as soon as possible” once the crisis was resolved, adding he intends to see through to the end as its president. He declined to speculate as to when the end of the crisis would come, stating “the analysis isn’t progressing very well” as far as the investigation goes.

The apology comes after FCA cut ties with Takata, bringing aboard rival TRW Automotive to supply the 4 million modules needed to replace the defect airbags. The decision was made on the basis Takata would continue to use ammonium nitrate in its airbags — the same chemical linked to the catastrophic failures — whereas TRW uses a safer chemical propellant in its units.

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8 Comments on “Takata’s Shigehisa Takada Publicly Apologizes For Airbag Crisis...”

  • avatar

    We’ve been through this before.
    Only Seppuku can set things right…

  • avatar

    What? “We’re sorry that we shipped unsafe product, knew we shipped unsafe product, told engineers who warned us to cover it up, ordered manufacturing to keep making it unsafely, kept doing it for years and years, refused to cooperate with authorities even after it became clear what had happened, and continued to do so over and over, and even then attempted to destroy evidence of what we’d done as we were paying fines rather than recall product we knew was faulty”?

    That just doesn’t cut it, dude. Not even close. You want to know why industry ends up being regulated by government? Because jerks like these will knowingly risk ripping your neck open to (only temporarily) increase profits infinitesimally.

    The worst part is that not only is it terrible morality, it’s crap business as well: How much would it have cost them to listen to the engineers and fix the problems when they first knew, vs the amount it will cost them now after running away from the problem for a decade? Apologize all you want, Mr. Takada, but it’s not going to change your position as a poster child for everything wrong with corporate governance.

  • avatar

    A couple of weeks ago I debated with the usual suspects here who said that “this airbag deal” was much ado about nothing compared to the GM ignition switch recall.

    Government just picking on a poor Japanese company!

    Now it’s side impact airbags too.

    With the worldwide exposure on this , Takata is probably going to go broke over this.

    I told you so!

  • avatar

    why don’t we simply unplug the fuse to disable the airbag, it’s just a supplemental balloon device of seatbelt and shock absorbing body structure.
    I agree they mis behaved though, no one is brave enough to suddenly stop shipping this kind of product. Remember the shock of 2011 earthquake that OEMs had to stop the line just because of tiny parts not available?
    I’m not trying to screen them from blame, but as we all ask for more and more devices on car yet willing to deliver it in a blink, more and more of these problems to come out.

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