According to a report coming form the New York Times, Takata Corp’s executives ordered engineers to get rid of evidence found after testing their airbags.
The Japanese global auto parts supplier is at the heart of the second-largest safety recall this year (following GM’s ignition switch debacle) – with its airbag inflators prone to failure, which means in case of an accident they can send metal debris flying through the cabin at high velocity.
Millions of cars have been recalled worldwide since 2008 by no less than 10 automakers (though Honda is the biggest client, by far) and following a set of recalls from 2013 and 2014 the NHTSA finally started an extensive investigation.
Now, it appears that the officials tried to cover their tracks after the technicians found cracks in the tested airbag inflators, which could lead to more global recalls. So far, the US safety regulator has asked to be brought in for service almost 8 million cars in high humidity areas, believed to be a key factor to the defect.
According to the newspaper, which cited two ex-employees of Takata, tests on the inflators were carried out long ago – after a 2004 accident that involved the inflator of a Honda Accord – the part exploded with excessive force and injured the driver. 50 airbags were taken from scrap yards and after carrying the tests and finding the inflators cracked, the executives ordered the data to be destroyed, instead on properly notifying the authorities of the danger.