The Takata airbag recall just keeps growing.
Honda's recall of Takata-supplied airbag inflators will soon grow by 668,000 vehicles in Japan. The latest expansion there will cover the passenger side airbags in the Fit, Civic, and Accord from the 2009 through 2011 model years. Honda already included these models in its campaign in the United States.
Japan's safety regulators are following a similar strategy as their American counterparts by having automakers recall Takata airbag inflators in stages. This phase covers the parts without a desiccant, which is a substance that absorbs moisture. Long-term exposure to high humidity exacerbates the risk of the inflators rupturing, so not having a way to mitigate the wetness is a problem.
Takata's faulty inflators have a potential connection to 14 deaths and over 100 injuries worldwide. The recall campaign covers around 100 million units of the parts across the globe, and roughly half of those are in Honda products. The Japanese automaker and several others already pledged to no longer use Takata's inflators in future vehicles.
Recent reports indicated that some people knew about the problems with Takata's inflators since the late '90s, but automakers refused to listen. For example, General Motors allegedly told Autoliv to match the Takata parts' lower price, and after testing Autoliv found its rival's components were potentially volatile.
Takata also allegedly knew about the safety problems. An internal audit showed the company's reports to Honda and other automakers purposefully left out less positive data about the inflators' performance.
The long-term airbag inflator scandal is wrecking havoc on Takata's business, and the company is reportedly shopping around for a new majority owner. Analysts expect the buyer to sell off some of the firm's other divisions as a means to cover the inflator-related costs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration already fined the company up to $200 million last year for the safety lapses.
Source: Automotive News