Japan’s Takata Corp, mind check the auto safety parts supplier at the center of a massive safety crisis, has made an “attitude adjustment” recently as it agreed with the US auto safety regulator it should recall almost 34 million autos for defective airbags.
The parts manufacturer has been involved in a growing safety crisis that started back in 2008 and involving eleven automakers today – all because its airbag inflators can explode with too much force and send metal debris and shrapnel inside the cabin at high velocity. But as the recalls mounted, especially in the United States, the supplier resisted for months the NHTSA’s desire to expand the safety campaign from the initial regional basis to a national level, even as the automakers implicated started to expand their own recalls. But now Takata has fallen in line with NHTSA’s request and called for the largest single-product recall in US history – almost 34 million autos (with a total of around 53 million worldwide). The attitude shift comes as a compromise, commented a person that has knowledge of the company’s strategy for Reuters.
But the attitude adjustment is not also a recognition that Takata is the only one to blame or that it would incur all costs of resolving the recalls alone- even as the flawed airbags have been tied to six deaths and more than 100 injuries. While Takata has now opted to stop fighting the regulators, the management leaders of the company are still adamant that its eleven auto customers should also share the blame, and most importantly, the financial distress.