Takata’s refusal to fully cooperate in a federal investigation of its exploding airbags responsible for the recall of more than 18 million vehicles will now cost them more than bad publicity – the company’s going to pony up $14,000 a day.
“Safety is a shared responsibility, and Takata’s failure to fully cooperate with our investigation is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.
The faulty inflators can explode and spew shrapnel into passenger cabin. At least six people have been killed worldwide due to the problem. The inflators are in cars made by 10 auto companies, which have all issued recalls for the affected vehicles.
The fine will remain in effect until the company complies with demands from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to provide explanations for 2.4 million pages of documents it gave to the agency. Federal law requires Takata to provide a catalog or index with the documents so investigators know what to look for.
(Takata ramping up airbag production. For more, Click Here.)
“NHTSA has repeatedly engaged Takata and asked for the company’s explanation of the content of the deluge of documents that it has produced thus far,” said NHTSA Chief Counsel O. Kevin Vincent in a letter to Takata. “At this point, Takata has still not taken any steps to provide the agency with an explanation of the documents.”
(Click Here for details about Honda confirming a new Takata fatality.)
The agency threatens to begin taking depositions of Takata employees in the U.S. and Japan, if Takata doesn’t acquiesce to NHTSA’s demand. The letter also states the agency will refer the case to the Justice Department for further court action. Foxx noted the fines will continue to accrue until Takata “fully and substantively” explains the documents, according to the Associated Press.