The Japanese automotive supplier’s plant located in Ciudad Frontera, Mexico could soon move from the global auto supply chain to the front of an ongoing investigation into airbags that have killed at least five people.
Since 2008 millions of cars worldwide from many automakers have been recalled because the airbags are defective and in case of an accident their inflators could explode with too much force, sending metal debris flying inside the cabin at high velocity. Following the trace of recall records from carmakers and regulators, it seems that the Mexican facility is the primary supplier of the faulty airbags produced in 2001 and 2002 and again around 2012. Back in 2006 there was even an explosion at the factory, signaling for both employees and nearby residents the perils stemming from the explosive compound used for the inflators of the Takata airbags.
Five fatalities – all in Honda-built vehicles – have been confirmed so far and various records point out to at least 160 injury claims involving various automakers have been sent to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The regulator meanwhile has ordered Tokyo-based Takata Corp to provide documentation linked to the production of airbags, including various records such as those related to manufacturing controls at the Mexican unit – in an attempt to find out why airbags spray deadly shrapnel.