Japanese auto safety parts supplier Takata Corp. is likely on the same path as General Motors was just a year ago – on its way to a record-breaking US regulator fine.
For now, the company’s reserve to fully cooperate in the federal probe over its exploding airbags has reached a new state – besides bad publicity, the US safety regulator the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is fining the supplier with $14,000 a day. “Safety is a shared responsibility, and Takata’s failure to fully cooperate with our investigation is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” commented Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement.
Takata has been embezzled in a mounting worldwide crisis surrounding its inability to find the cause of exploding airbag inflators that have brought recalls of more than 20 million vehicles all over the world and have been linked to at least six deaths. Ten automakers have recalled numerous models since 2008 due to the possibility of the airbag’s inflators to explode with too much force, sending metal debris and other shrapnel inside the cabin at high velocity.
The NHTSA has issued the fine due to Takata’s unwillingness to comply with regulatory demands to explain 2.4 million pages of documents delivered to the agency. “At this point, Takata has still not taken any steps to provide the agency with an explanation of the documents,” said NHTSA Chief Counsel O. Kevin Vincent. According to federal law, the auto parts maker is compelled to deliver a catalog or index with the documents for investigators to find what they look for.