The US safety agency – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – has announced it started an investigation to find out if the Japanese automaker improperly reported deaths or injuries linked to the Takata recalls.
The Japanese auto safety parts supplier – the second largest company in the world in the segment – has become globally famous because millions of recalled cars (since 2008) have been equipped with airbags manufactured by Takata. The defective inflators that should inflate the airbags in case of an accident could explode with too much force and send plastic and metal debris flying inside the cabin at high velocity. The NHTSA has said that close to 8 million vehicles from numerous automakers have been recalled since 2013 – and Honda, Takata’s largest client, has the biggest vehicle count.
Now, linked to the sweeping recall investigation, the safety regulator has given Honda three weeks to provide answers to detailed questions about how it found, searched and tallied accident reports that span across at least a decade. Honda vehicles with Takata airbags have been tied to at least four fatalities and earlier last month the carmaker said it ordered an outside audit to find out if it tallied injury and death reports wrongly.
The agency had 34 points on the order sent to Honda on Monday and the carmaker is required to answer to all under oath. According to a statement from the NHTSA, the regulator “has received information indicating that [Honda] failed to report incidents involving Takata air bags,” and now the agency “is also concerned that Honda’s reporting failures go beyond the Takata incidents.”