According to the Japanese auto safety parts maker’s recent declaration, Takata Corp. probed airbag inflators that were potentially defective in the US back in 2003.
The tests involved an investigation that was opened because an airbag inflator ruptured in a BMW model, but the company ultimately decided that it was a one-time anomaly – acknowledged Takata just ahead of the second US congressional hearing held because of the ongoing airbag recall safety crisis. Additionally, two people that participated in another, separate, round of tests, told Reuters under condition of anonymity that Takata had technicians under its payroll test inflators in Michigan, US, for any sign of defects in 2004. That would actually be one year before the parts maker officially said it discovered for the first time the faulty inflators – today tied to five deaths around the world and numerous injuries.
US lawmakers might start more intense scrutiny into the way the company conducts business, as the disclosure shows that Takata was actually investigating the problem earlier than officially acknowledged. The series of recalls that have come to encompass over 16 million vehicles worldwide are the target of regulators and prosecutors, as the US lawmakers have opened an additional criminal investigation.