Honda Motor, the third largest Japanese automaker and the biggest client for auto safety parts provider Takata Corp., according to insiders, decided to buy used or scrapped cars to perform its own tests on the potentially flawed airbags.
The decision was made because the company is growing concerned with the mounting number of recalls on the parts maker’s airbags, which so far led to the death of five persons, all in Honda vehicles. The automaker was also growing frustrated with the fact that Takata was unable to explain the root cause of why airbag inflators tend to explode, sending metal shrapnel flying at high velocity inside the cabin. Automakers have started recalling Takata-equipped vehicles since 2008 and so far at least 21 million units are involved in safety campaigns because of the faulty Takata inflators. Honda itself is responsible for 14 million of those, mostly in the United States, where four of the five death accidents also occurred.
According to high ranked persons inside Honda, which declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject, reported to Reuters that the company ran tests on 100-150 Takata air bags at Honda’s quality center near Utsunomiya, north of Tokyo, during the first part of the year. The results showed flaws in Takata’s manufacturing quality and shed a negative light on a company Honda usually refers to as being inside the core group of suppliers, or “keiretsu”.