Japan’s auto safety supplier Takata Corp. has lifted expenses directed towards US federal lobbying by 22 percent during the second quarter as it sought to thwart the massive recall attention from regulators and lawmakers.
Since 2008, Takata has recalled tens of millions of cars worldwide because of potentially defective airbag inflators that could explode with too much force and send metal debris inside the cabin at high velocity. The airbag debacle also triggered the US industry’s largest single product recall in history and has been tied so far to at least eighth fatalities and hundreds of injuries. Records filed with the US Senate last month show the Japanese auto parts manufacturer has so far paid $390,000 to Squire Patton Boggs to represent it when dealing with the Congress, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Department of Transportation on “issues relating to air bag safety.” The company paid the same firm $300,000 in the first quarter and one of its subsidiaries called Takata Protection Systems spent another $20,000, paid to Washington Alliance Group, read the fillings.
US lawmakers have so far this year held four public hearings with the company over the flawed parts, with Takata, the implicated automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration still probing for the root cause of the defect to explain why the airbag inflators can break and threaten the lives of the car’s occupants. During the last hearing in June a Senate report even claimed the company’s employees had knowledge of major safety and quality control lapses as far back as 2001.