The US Congress has called for a public hearing next week to discuss the safety crisis that focuses around Japan’s Takata Corp., while five of the eleven automakers affected by the issue have expanded recalls of cars and trucks equipped with defective airbag inflators.
Since 2008 around 53 million autos have been recalled because they were equipped with airbag inflators made by Japanese auto safety parts manufacturer Takata Corp., which can explode with too much force, sending metal shards and other debris inside the cabin at high velocity. Last week, the supplier also finally complied with demands from the US safety auto regulator and practically doubled the US recall quota to almost 34 million vehicles – the largest single-product recall in US history. Thursday the recalls were also widened by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Honda, BMW, Ford and Mitsubishi – though the units have already been included in the numbers provided last week by Takata and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
With the safety crisis ballooning and the root cause yet unknown, despite separate efforts by US regulators, Takata and a consortium led by ten automakers, a hearing will be held next Tuesday by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade to provide an update on the safety issues. US lawmakers have been complaining that both Takata and the NHTSA are slow in addressing the safety issue, though the US safety regulator has shown its “watchdog bite” since it gained a new administrator back in January.