It seems like Honda and Takata quietly worked on a fix for the defective inflators back in 2009, but the automaker did not inform the US regulators, Reuters reports.
There are more than 19 million cars affected by Takata’s explosive inflators so far only in the United States and an estimated 29 million faulty airbags have been recalled until now. Honda have been severely affected by this safety crisis, with around 8.5 million vehicles recalled over the issue since 2008 and nine deaths linked to it. However, it seems that the automaker has not been as straightforward as expected with the US regulators.
According to Reuters, after a deadly 2009 incident caused by one of Takata’s inflators, Honda asked the Japanese supplier in August to come up with a fix, but it did not notify the US regulators, as the law required them to do. Honda requested Takata to make a “fail-safe” airbag inflator, according to supplier’s presentations and internal memos reviewed by Reuters. Honda started to fit the modified inflators in some, but not all, vehicles in 2011 and continues to do so today, and it expanded recalls as it became aware of more defects.
Both Honda and Takata are facing countless lawsuits over the defective airbags and such disclosures could complicate the automaker’s legal battles, as it shows it was well aware of the safety risks involved by the airbags before starting to recall millions of cars.