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Takata bid to hide 'exploding' airbags?

2014-11-07 12:27

HUGE RECALL FOR BMW: BMW is the latest automaker to issue a recall due to vehicles fitted with faulty airbags by Takata Corp. BMW SA reports that approximately 47 000 3 Series models (1998 - 2005) are affected. Image: BMW SA

TOKYO, Japan - The Takata corporation, a Japanese vehicle parts maker at the centre of a global vehicle recall, ordered its technicians to destroy the results of tests on some of its air bags after finding cracks in air bag inflators, the New York Times has claimed.

The tests were carried out on the inflators - steel canisters that contain an explosive used to inflate the bags in a collision - after a crash in 2004 when an inflator in a Honda Accord exploded, ejecting metal fragments and injuring the driver, the newspaper said.

Many South African drivers are affected as local automaker's recalled thousands of vehicles.

ATTEMPT TO HIDE EVIDENCE?

Two ex-Takata employees told the newspaper that Takata retrieved 50 airbags from scrapyards for tests not long after the incident. Instead of alerting US federal safety regulators to the possible danger Takata executives ordered the technicians to destroy the test data, the paper said.

Takata had no immediate comment on the report, which sent the company's shares down as much as 4.7%.

Takata has been beset by chronic problems with defective inflators in its air bags which can explode with excessive force and spray metal shards. The bags, used by many leading automakers, are the focus of a US regulatory probe and have prompted the recall of 17-million cars worldwide through the past six years.

Even more could follow.

HISTORY OF NEGLIGENCE

The unnamed ex-employees told the New York Times that the test result in 2004 was so startling that engineers began designing possible fixes to prepare for a recall. The tests, supervised by Takata's then-vice-president for engineering Al Bernat, were done in 2004 at Takata's US headquarters in Michigan, they said.

Three months later an order came to stop testing and destroy the data, including video and computer backups, the former employees told the paper. The tests had been conducted four years earlier, Takata said in regulatory filings that it first tested the problematic air bags, according to the paper.

Takata, which has 22% of the global market for air-bag inflators, warned on Thursday (Nov 6) of a bigger full-year loss and again apologised for the repeated recalls.

SA AFFECTED

Many automakers have issued recalls in SA to resolve Takata's exploding airbag issues.

Here's a list of local recalls issued. Is your car among them - better check...!

'Exploding' bags: GM halts Cruze sales
Giant recall for BMW: SA affected
Honda, Mazda, Nissan issue recalls over airbags
Toyota recall: Over 4000 SA Corollas affected
'Exploding' airbags: 2-million Hondas recalled

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Read more on:    takata  |  honda  |  usa  |  recall

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