Takata Refuses to Expand Recall Leaving Auto Manufacturers with Large Burden or Penalties

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Takata Refuses to Expand Recall Leaving Auto Manufacturers with Large Burden or Penalties

Close to 8 million vehicles by 10 different auto manufacturers have been recalled this year due to Takata’s exploding airbags. The airbags could inflate in minor accidents or without cause sending pieces of shrapnel into the driver’s body which could result in serious injury or death. There have been five deaths and several injuries reported that are related to the defective airbags.

Takata did not take full responsibility for its harmful products. Instead of investigating when first discovering the issue in 2005, Takata concealed the defects until 2008. Even then, Takata withheld issuing a nationwide recall and has insisted on only recalling vehicles in areas with high humidity. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sent Takata a letter in November which stated that “Takata has provided no justification for limiting the geographic scope to high absolute humidity region.”

Still, Takata refused to expand the recall, resulting in the U.S. Senate holding congressional hearings to investigate the airbags. During the hearings, Takata denied concealing the defects and felt it had done enough to thoroughly investigate and report the defect. NHTSA responded by giving Takata a deadline to either expand the recall by December 2, 2014 or be hit with legal action and civil penalties. Takata still refused to expand the recall on December 2, and said that NHTSA did not have authority to force Takata to do anything.

Takata’s refusal to expand the recall leaves automakers with the responsibility of expanding the recalls on their own or getting stuck with penalties once NHTSA starts cracking the whip. Some auto manufacturers have already started expanding their recalls. Honda and Ford both announced nationwide recalls in December. Takata is not off the hook by any means, and will still have to answer to NHTSA soon.

Source: Rueters, Consumer Reports

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