Japan’s Takata Corp., the auto safety parts suppliers caught in a global auto safety crisis, has become now more forthcoming with US regulators after the latter imposed a daily $14,000 fine.
The Japanese company has been involved in last year’s second major deadly recall crisis, after millions of cars across the globe (though more than 50 percent in the US) were reported to have been equipped with defective airbag inflators, which could explode with too much force and send metal debris and shards flying inside the cabin at high velocity. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), dissatisfied with the company’s cooperation on the requested documents surrounding the deadly flaw, pressured Takata with a $14,000 daily fine. According to NHTSA’s administrator Mark Rosekind “they’re starting to become forthcoming.” The safety official declined to give more specific details on the sidelines of the comment made in front of an audience of consumer advocates. The fine was imposed last month for the failure to cooperate with the regulator’s probe of the defective part – which has already been linked to at least six fatalities and dozens of injuries.
The safety regulator itself has been heavily criticized last year for being to slow to respond to major safety crises – including the GM ignition switch and Takata airbag debacles – and Rosekind assumed the agency’s top position with a clear target of successfully overhauling its safety operations. He took Takata’s case as a pointer for NHTSA’s “willingness to stand up and fight on behalf of the consumer” and added the current administration would ask for increased authority for the agency from the Congress.