The US auto safety regulator has asked the third-largest Japanese automaker, Takata’s largest client – to supply the officials with documents and answers about the potentially flawed airbags fitted into millions of vehicles in the US.
This is the same order – give up documents and answer questions under oath – that was received a week ago by the Japanese auto-safety parts maker Takata Corp. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has taken notice that over the last 18 months (and airbag-related recalls started in 2008 actually) the supplier has been hit by chronic, widespread issues with the airbags inflators. They are designed to inflate the airbag in milliseconds to protect the occupants in case there’s an accident but Takata-made inflators could explode with too much power and send metal debris flying through the cabin at high velocity. The flaw has led to recalls from ten automakers and two of them – GM and Toyota – also advised owners of the cars they should not seat passengers in the front until the matter is resolved.
The NHTSA is asking Honda now for all internal communications linked to Takata’s airbags, field reports, warranty claims and pre-suit legal claims, incidents and lawsuits related to the issue. The agency has also asked the automaker whether it sent any employees to Takata plants in the US and Mexico, since 2000.