Although the Japanese auto safety supplier has said it constantly increased the pace of producing replacement airbag kits for the vehicles being recalled globally, the US safety regulator says the full supply of parts would be available in January or later.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has urged Takata to increase pace on supplying the necessary replacement kits for the recalled cars – around 8 million vehicles from 10 automakers in the US alone. The recalls date as far as last year and the defective airbags have been linked so far to four fatalities and 30 injuries. A faulty inflator can explode with too much force and send metal debris and shrapnel flying inside the cabin at high velocity.
The US safety regulator has said the production pace reported to the agency leads it to forecast that a full compliment of replacement kits for the defective airbags would not be available until January 2015 or even later. Also, the agency has decided to warn automakers that it’s considering whether to expand the recalls – so far the notices for models have been sent regionally, involving places with high humidity – believed to be a contributing factor for the early failure of the inflators. Now, just as the agency has come under fire from US officials because it’s believed to be too lax and often act slow, it has decided to prepare the automakers to expand the recall – according to estimates with another 4 to 5 million vehicles (besides the 7.8 million units in the US).
According to letters sent to carmakers, the agency’s deputy director, David Friedman said “more can and should be done as soon as possible to prevent any further tragedies,” including tapping competitors to increase the production of airbag replacements.