Following the scandal concerning defective airbags produced by Japan’s Takata Corp., the US lawmakers have moved to ask for an official criminal probe of the company.
The second-largest auto safety parts supplier in the world, Takata Corp. has been at the center of an increasingly massive airbag safety crisis after millions of vehicles from 10 brands have been recalled since 2008. Only in 2013 and 2014 campaigns almost 8 million vehicles have been recalled in the US alone, with the NHTSA probing the company for the unwanted defects of the parts in high humidity areas. The airbag inflators – designed to explode and inflate the bag in milliseconds to protect the occupants can burst with excessive force, sending debris and shrapnel flying at high velocity inside the cabin.
Now, the auto-parts maker has dropped to its lowest in more than five years in Tokyo trading – a 17% fall to 1,177 yen at the close of trading – the worst figure since May 2009. Overall, the stock has slid 61% this year, the fifth-largest decline among Japan’s publicly traded companies. The US Senators have asked the country’s Justice Department for a formal criminal investigation following a report that back in 2004 Takata had done secret testing on the airbags, finding the inflators to be cracked and with the results ordered to be erased.