The Takata airbag issue has led to the biggest recall in automotive history. As many as 100 million vehicles from 13 manufacturers will be recalled after Takata revealed that it had concealed potentially lethal defects in its airbag detonator systems. The affected brands include renowned brands like Honda, Toyota, BMW, Chevrolet, Daimler, Dodge, Audi, Chrysler, Ford, Ferrari, GMC, Infiniti, Jaguar, Lexus, Jeep and Land Rover.
Last week, Takata had agreed to pay a fine of USD 1billion of which USD 25 million would be paid as fine to the US government while of the balance amount USD 125 million would be used to pay restitution to those who have been injured or killed due to the use of the defective airbags and USD 850 million would go to the car manufacturers which used these airbags. Currently, at least 12 deaths and 180 injuries have been directly attributed to the use of these defective airbags from Takata.
The issue first came up in 2006, when Takata officials admitted that some of its airbag inflators expanded with too much force and sprayed metal shrapnel into cars. The airbags also had a tendency to deploy when not needed, especially in humid climates. In the intervening 10 years, Takata consistently falsified critical test data to conceal the true extent of the problem, thus compromising the safety of motorists. As Andrew Weissmann, head of the US Justice Department’s fraud section rightly pointed out, the company repeatedly put profits and production schedules ahead of safety.
Individual car manufacturers who used the Takata airbags will contact owners of the affected vehicles and ask them to bring their vehicles in to have the fault rectified free of cost. As the issue is more critical in areas having more humid climates, the recall needs to be carried out more urgently in such markets as humidity is believed to inadvertently trigger the airbag deployment explosive.
This is the biggest such recall triggered by a supplier in recent times though there are no accurate records on a global basis about recall data. The most recent case has been the recall of 8.5 million Volkswagen cars in 2016 due to emissions cheating and the recall of 5.8 million cars by General Motors in 2014 due to an ignition switch issue.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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