By on November 3, 2015

 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Tuesday it would fine auto supplier Takata $70 million for its defective airbags that have caused seven deaths and nearly 100 injuries.

Regulators announced that an additional $130 million fine could be levied on the supplier if they do not comply with additional safety standards or if more defects are found.

“For years, Takata has built and sold defective products, refused to acknowledge the defect, and failed to provide full information to NHTSA, its customers, or the public,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “The result of that delay and denial has harmed scores of consumers and caused the largest, most complex safety recall in history. Today’s actions represent aggressive use of NHTSA’s authority to clean up these problems and protect public safety.”

In addition to the fines, NHTSA said it would scrutinize further operations by the supplier. As part of the consent order with the company, Takata agreed that it had failed to recall faulty airbags, and lied to investigators and the public.

The safety authority said it would appoint an independent monitor for the company for the next five years.

Additionally, NHTSA said it would speed recalls of defective airbags, which were fitted into 19 million cars made by 12 different automakers. In all, NHTSA said 23 million inflators could be affected.

“Today, we are holding Takata responsible for its failures, and we are taking strong action to protect the traveling public,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said in a statement. “We are accelerating Takata recalls to get safe air bags into American vehicles more quickly, ensuring that consumers at the greatest risk are protected, and addressing the long-term risk of Takata’s use of a suspect propellant.”

NHTSA said it would replace high-risk airbags by June 2016 and all affected airbags would be removed by 2019.

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16 Comments on “Feds Hit Takata With $70M Fine For Defective Airbags...”


  • avatar
    APaGttH

    But, but, but, I thought only US companies got off easy.

  • avatar
    Poppa Gilley

    I’m curious. What does the Federal Gubbmint do with all the millions that they get (extort) from the manufacturers?

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    VW did not use Takata airbags. Finally, one piece of good news for everyone’s favorite German target.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Germans prefer to gas their customers.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Which is really funny, because the wheel in the picture is the four-spoke steering wheel from a B6 (2006-2011) Passat.

      Besides, Volkswagen actually does or did use Takata airbags. In fact, a single report of an airbag rupture in a 2015 Tiguan is being investigated. VW may or may not have gotten the same defective canisters that other automakers did, but it does use Takata airbags. (http://www.edmunds.com/car-news/feds-investigate-takata-airbag-rupture-in-2015-volkswagen-tiguan.html)

      Which sucks for me.

      • 0 avatar
        Tosh

        We told you NOT to buy a VW, but you made your own bed.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          No, you didn’t, because I just kind of went and did it, then announced it after the fact. Then I did it again. And a third time.

          But this airbag thing (or even the emissions thing on the TDIs) is not an issue that someone would reasonably have been able to anticipate, and, in the case of the former, isn’t even VW’s fault.

          Besides, my newer two VWs have only ever had minor, infrequent glitches, nothing serious.

  • avatar
    cantankerous

    My first impression upon hearing the $70 million figure was that, although large compared to previous fines, it was pretty small considering the scope and heinousness of Takata’s deceipt. However, upon further reflection I’m guessing that the Feds wanted to avoid levying a fine so large it would guarantee bankruptcy, both so that Takata will remain in business long enough to manufacture replacements for all those defective airbags (my family alone owns *three* affected vehicles) and to make sure there’d be some money left over for the inevitable host of civil suits.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    I don’t want to start trouble, but I do have an honest question.
    What good are airbags?
    If worn, would not shoulder safety belt do everything an airbag would do without causing further damage to the face and head…as I understand airbags do?
    I understand there is some weakness to the designs of shoulder/chest belts, but could these not be addressed before forcing the use of airbags which do work only with explosions of hard material into faces?
    Could not the belts be better improved to perform more safely than airbags?
    The most dangerous airbag, IMO, is the front off the wheel or dash. Perhaps limiting them to window drop down or foot-well explosions would be a much better government demand than forcing the explosions into passenger faces.

    This was, after all, all government driven.

    • 0 avatar
      Tosh

      An airbag is for stopping your head from snapping off.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        head snapping off?
        I have never heard of a head snapping off in my entire life…not from a car crash.
        But the point here is the percentage of results from the required law. How many injuries were caused by airbags vs preventing the of snapping off of heads, as you suggest?
        After all the injuries caused from airbags, even properly performing airbags, the truth about cost vs real safety performance has never been made public.
        That I am aware of.
        I am going to venture out here and say it has been the most unneeded safety regulation…ever.
        And that safety belts, IF USED, would have prevented injuries and a fraction of the cost.

        and the hypocrisy accepted by government and society screams for justification. Airbags and seat belts required in cars…yet motorcycles even exist.
        Really a strange reality we live in.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          “Airbags and seat belts required in cars…yet motorcycles even exist.
          Really a strange reality we live in.”

          I don’t think that’s a good argument. A motorcycle is an open-cockpit vehicle whose inherent danger causes safety compromises that, for the most part, cannot be removed from the equation. Automobiles, on the other hand, can eliminate quite a bit of that danger (when engineered properly)…so they do. What you’re stating is comparable to saying, “Why do buildings have codes and regulations when RVs exist?”

          Most people are forced to travel in an automobile at some point in their lives, and they don’t necessarily need to assume the same risk as someone consciously choosing to ride or drive a motorcycle would.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            Kyree
            I am trying to make a point…and much of it is the “someone consciously choosing” vs government forced.
            I suppose this is going to lead nowhere, since any personal choice today is the opinion of the village.
            From suicide to driving without a seat-belt to riding a bicycle without a helmet…all rules being written in pencil by the majority…with or without logic.

            You can take a side and justify it in any way you wish.
            But it is still a manipulation of the individual’s right…or no right.

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