Since 2008, millions of cars equipped with Takata airbags have been recalled worldwide, and safety campaigns in 2013 and 2014 have seen at least 8 million vehicles called back in the US alone.
Following the ensuing scandal and numerous reports of malpractices on behalf of Japan’s Takata Corp. – the supplier of the defective part – the US Senate called a hearing to investigate the matter – as it did previously during the year after GM’s ignition switch debacle.
During the hearing held yesterday in front of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, a Takata executive – Hiroshi Shimizu, senior vice president in charge of global quality assurance – publicly apologized for producing the airbags that have been linked so far to five deaths. During the meeting, two lawmakers also added that a sixth fatality could soon be linked to the Takata problem.
“We are deeply sorry and anguished about each of the reported instances in which a Takata air bag has not performed as designed and a driver or passenger has suffered personal injuries or death,” said Shimizu, while adding that so far the company only acknowledges three of the fatalities and two other deaths are still researched. So far, one of the fatality cases involves a woman in Malaysia who was pregnant when she died and the fetus was not saved.