Japan’s Takata Corp., the auto safety supplier at the center of a mounting recall crisis has been hit by a large amount of safety campaigns this week, after Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Daihatsu recalled millions of more cars.
The recent string of recalls has taken the safety crisis to a total of around 36 million recalled cars, all taken back to service because the Takata produced airbag inflators have a tendency to explode with too much force, sending metal debris and shrapnel inside the cabin at high velocity – six fatalities and over one hundred injuries have been tied to the flaw so far, including one pregnant woman in Malaysia who lost her life along with the infant. The latest string of safety campaigns was triggered by the new investigations findings that showed Takata had not properly sealed the airbag inflators and could be damaged by humidity. The ten automakers and Takata itself have yet to find the root cause of the defects, even as the carmakers, the Japanese and US safety regulators and the parts maker are hard at work researching the defective systems.
The latest recalls have been taken as precautionary measure – after last year’s GM ignition switch crisis and the Takata scandal the days when action was taken after injuries and deaths are, hopefully, gone. The vehicles involved in the last patch of recalls have not been involved in accidents and there are no reported casualties. The underlying question still remains though – with the extent of the recalls – ten automakers and their underlying brands – and more than 30 million recalled vehicles, how was it possible for Takata to fly under the radar for so long?