Automakers want engineering firm and former US regulator to direct Takata airbag investigation image

The consortium of ten affected automakers mulls the hiring of an independent engineering company and a former top US auto safety regulator for a probe that seeks to find why Takata-produced airbags have fatal issues.

The group, which internally refers to itself as the joint initiative, wants a forensic engineering firm “to address the technical issues with Takata air bag inflators,” according to Toyota spokeswoman Julie Hamp comments in a statement released on behalf of the carmakers’ consortium. Additionally, sources point out that David Kelly, a former acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could be chosen as the project leader. The automakers have recalled millions of cars since 2008 with defective Takata-produced airbag inflators. They have a tendency to explode with excessive force, sending metal debris and shrapnel inside the cabin at high velocity and have been found responsible for at least five deaths so far.

Since Takata itself has been unable to find the root cause of the problem, the consortium decided to take matters into their own hands and the Japanese supplier has announced its collaboration with the industry group’s investigation. Back in December, Takata itself brought Samuel Skinner, a former US secretary of transportation to direct a “quality assurance panel” tasked to review the company’s policies and reactions to automakers and regulators. The same month, Toyota invited its rivals to join “a coordinated industry-wide joint initiative to independently test” the Takata-produced airbag inflators. The other involved carmakers are Honda, GM, Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, BMW, Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Subaru.

Via Reuters