Recalls due to faulty Takata airbags reach 21 million vehicles

Posted on 18 Dec 2014 by Tim Brown

Faulty airbags made by Takata, which have so far been responsible for five deaths and 50 injuries, have resulted in 21 million global vehicle recalls since 2008 from brands including Nissan, Toyota and Honda.

Takada CEO Shigehisa Takada told the Nikkei newspaper this week that company has sufficient funds to support the global recall spurred by faults with its airbag products which can explode with excessive force and spray shrapnel into cars.

The deaths, four in the United States and one in Malaysia, have all been in Honda cars fitted with Takata airbags and the company has announced more than 500,000 recalls in China alone

But Nissan has also issued recalls and said on Wednesday it has ordered the recall of more than 80,000 vehicles sold in Mexico to check for potential defects.

In fact The Detroit News reported that representatives from Toyota, Honda, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Subaru all met in a hotel conference room near the Detroit Metropolitan Airport last week to sort out a way to understand the technical issues involved with the airbag fault.

US regulators last month ordered Takata to move forward with a nationwide expansion of the regional recall, but Takata refused and has put the onus for voluntary recalls on the car makers.

Takata has so far put aside $774 million to deal with recalls, but it faces dozens of class-action lawsuits as well as a US criminal investigation.

Following the Honda recalls, Mr Takata released a statement which said: “We deeply regret that the problems in our airbags have caused troubles. We will continue to dedicate every possible effort to delivering the safest products and to renewing trust in us. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.”

Mr Takata said the company had analysed around 100 inflators a day to determine a cause for the defect and it has since identified and corrected manufacturing problems, including mismanagement of ammonium nitrate, a chemical that has been used in its airbag inflators since 2000.

But conflicting reports have stated recently that neither Takata nor US investigators are completely sure of the cause of the malfunctions which have plagued the company since the late 1990s.