Automakers could soon be forced to expand even more their recalls of Takata Corp airbags – already tied to five deaths – as the Japanese transportation ministry said an airbag manufactured by the supplier and fitted into an un-related vehicle ruptured.
Masato Sahashi, a ministry official, briefed reporters in Tokyo on the issue yesterday, saying that and airbag from a 2003 model failed during the testing of devices from scrapped autos conducted in the Gifu prefecture. He added that currently investigators are seeking to determine the cause of the rupture and once the malfunction is identified, more recalls might follow. He didn’t say anything about the car model or automaker that had the airbag fitted.
Takata airbags have been linked so far to at least five deaths – four in the United States and one in Malaysia, with the latter involving a pregnant woman (the child couldn’t be saved either). The inflator manufactured by the Japanese parts maker have been known to potentially explode with excessive force, spraying deadly metal debris and shrapnel inside the cabin. Just like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the US, Japanese regulators are also stepping up the measures against Takata and the pressure – the country’s ministry even established a group to oversee recalls of vehicles equipped with the devices.