Takata Brought to its Knees in Exploding Airbag Scandal
After months of resistance, Takata Corp, Japanese manufacturer of vehicle airbags that has been at the center of a massive recall responsible for at least six deaths and many more injuries, is finally acquiescing to U.S. safety regulators’ demands. Although the parts-maker doesn’t feel it should bear the entire cost of replacing the now-34 million recalled vehicles equipped with Takata airbags, part of the reason Takata is cooperating with NHTSA in issuing a wider recall is due to the nearly $400,000 in fines the company has been incurring each month since February 2015 for failing to accommodate the investigations. The faulty and dangerous airbags have been prone to exploding without warning, spewing metal shrapnel into the vehicle. A German research firm hired by Takata found several contributing factors aside from the acknowledgement that an ammonium nitrate chemical explosion may cause the airbags to spontaneously combust—including damaged inflater parts and prolonged exposure to heat and humidity.