TAKATA DISASTER CONTINUES

We previously blogged on the manufacturer of airbags from Japan’s company Takata and the tremendous recall and fines imposed on Takata.  This blog will update you on the product liability actions and extensive recalls.

On May 29, 2015, USA Today – The Journal News published an article by Chris Woodyard entitled “2.4M Cars Added to the Airbag Recall”.  Automakers added millions of cars to their official lists of potentially dangerous Takata airbag inflators.  Fiat & Chrysler automakers said it added 1.4 million vehicles globally.  Honda added an additional 350,000 autos in the United States and BMW added 420,100 in the United States.  Eleven automakers in the United States have been caught in the Takata airbag recalls.  The National Traffic Safety Administration said it was doubling the number of recalls included in the Takata recall to an amazing 33.8 million vehicles.  Airbags made by Japan’s Takata are deemed dangerous because their inflators can explode when they deploy in a crash sending shards of metal or plastic at drivers or passengers.  In May, 2015, there have been 6 deaths in Hondas especially in high humidity weather.  Honda had previously recalled 350,000 vehicles to fix driver’s side airbags.  Honda has replaced 2 million airbag inflators.  The recall involves automobile manufactured from 2002 to 2006.

In an AOL.com article discussed that Chief Executive Shigehisa Takada apologized for the defective inflators which has been linked to 8 deaths and more than 100 injuries.  US lawmakers raised the possibility that Takata puts profits before safety.  Representatives from Takata admitted the analysis of the problem wasn’t progressing very well.  Since the crisis was discovered, multiple investigations were underway collectively by 10 automakers as well as Takata’s own probe.  Takata shares plunged 38% since June, 2015.  At Takata’s annual general meeting, shareholders criticized Mr. Takada for his failure to appear in public to address the issue.

Toyota Motor Corp. added 2.9 million vehicles to replace passenger side airbag inflators.  Nissan Motor Company added another 198,000 vehicles to the recall list.  Automakers including top customers, Honda Motor Co. are turning to other inflator makers such as Sweden’s Autoline, Inc. and Japan’s Daical Corp. to supply replacement parts.

An article in USA Today – Journal News on October 23, 2015 by Nathan Bomeg points out that the NHTSA may expand the largest vehicle recall in US history. The NHTSA were forcing automakers to accelerate repairs of the airbags ruptured.  Takata airbags have killed 8 people and injured 98 people.

NHTSA has expanded its investigation to include side airbag inflators. Passenger side airbags are 10 times as likely to cause deaths or injuries since front seat passengers sit further away from the airbags.  The NHTSA will fine Takata at least $70 million and could increase that penalty to $200 million if Takata does not adequately recall its defective airbags.  NHTSA also appointed a monitor to oversee Takata’s airbag recall.

In December, 2015, in an article by Nathan Bomeg in USA Today – The Journal News stated “A Ninth Person Was Killed by Exploding Takata airbags”.  The latest vehicle was a minor who was driving a relative’s 2001 Honda Accord Coupe on July 22, 2015.  Honda declined to identify the teenager who was hospitalized and died several days after the accident.  The defect triggered a recall covering 23 million car inflators.  NHTSA is likely to add a few hundred thousand vehicles to the recall but included 2005 – 2008 Mazda 6, 2002– 2004 Honda CR-V and 2005 – 2008 Subaru Legacy and Outback’s.  Honda concurrently issued a recall for 127,000 inflators in 2003 and 2004 Honda CRV.

As late as January 23, 2016, Takata airbag recall expands by 5 million.  The NHTSA believes a South Carolina driver was killed in December, 2015 when an inflator in a Takata airbag exploded.  The fatal airbag accident occurred in a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup.  As a result of the ninth death, the recall will be expanded to include about 1 million vehicles.  In addition, another 4 million other car and trucks will be subject to recall.  Recalls of Takata vehicles have proceeded slowly in part because replacement inflators haven’t been readily available.

Finally, it was reported as late as February 5, 2016, that Honda Motor Co. has added an additional 2.23 million late model US vehicles to the growing list of recalls.  The Japan based automaker said that certain Honda and Acura vehicles from 2005 – 2016 model years are now included within the recall.  The decision raises the number of Honda and Acura vehicles involved in the recall to 8.51 million vehicles.

If you or a relative has suffered personal injury from a Takata airbag, contact the law firm of Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC at (914) 288-0800 or visit us on the web at WhitePlains-Injury-Lawyer.com or email us at djorobolaw@aol.com.