Honda Motor said today it was not considering a fresh lending scheme for Takata Corp, either on its own or as part of a group of Japanese automakers.
Following a report by Japan’s Sankei newspaper that automakers were discussing brand new financial support for the supplier, a Honda spokesman said that “we are not considering joint lending to Takata.” The auto part supplier was fined 70 million dollars in November by regulators in the United States, where the majority of deaths and recalls involving the inflators occurred and where the manufacturer faces class action lawsuits related to the issue. The scandal affects 12 vehicle manufacturers, more than 23 million inflators and approximately 19 million vehicles, according to federal data.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced two weeks ago the eighth US fatality caused by Takata’s faulty airbag inflators and the ninth worldwide. The agency said the incident involved a model year 2001 vehicle that spent most of it service life in a high absolute humidity region and had been under recall for many years. The fatality was the result of a driver airbag rupture, as has been the case for all known fatalities. After an inspection of vehicle components in cooperation with regulators, Honda Motor Co said it “confirmed that the Takata driver’s front airbag inflator ruptured” and “injuries related to this airbag inflator rupture likely resulted in the tragic death of the underage driver.”
NHTSA also announced that the pace of recall completion is accelerating rapidly. To help oversee future progress in this direction, the US regulators selected John D. Buretta, a partner at the law firm Cravath, Swain & Moore to serve as the Takata monitor. He will be responsible for assisting the agency in providing important oversight of both the coordinated remedy program and of Takata’s compliance with consent orders.