Takata knew that its airbags were prone to rupture as early as 2000 and allegedly discarded the tests results, according to a recent report from the New York Times.
This is not the first media report that claims the Japanese automotive supplier had knowledge that its airbag inflators were defective. The Wall Street Journal said in November that Takata did not take account of its employees’ concerns about manipulated data provided to Honda Motor about its inflators from as early as 2000, an information also confirmed to Automotive News by a person familiar with the matter. Now, new revelations in Takata’s safety crisis are backing up these claims, bringing again to light the fact that the company’s engineers discarded 16 years ago evidence about the dangers of the ammonium nitrate used to propel the airbags. The new lead, recently reported by the New York Times, comes after some testimonies that are part of a lawsuit filed by a woman who claimed she was paralyzed after the Takata airbags found on her 2001 Honda Civic deployed with too much force during a 2014 accident.
According to the paper, a deposition from a former Takata employee revealed that he tried to examine airbag parts that failed some tests made in June 2000 for Honda Motor, but he said that he discovered that the parts were discarded under orders from Takata’s vice president for engineering at the time, Al Bernat. Takata’s lawyers strongly rejected the claims, saying that test showed no failures. “None of them have ruptured, zero,” David M. Bernick, a lawyer representing the supplier, said. “We have no evidence, in fact we have evidence to the contrary, that this inflator was defective at the time of the accident.”
Via New York Times