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Takata to Plead Guilty, Set up Victims’ Fund

Three executives face criminal trial but remain out of reach.

by on Feb.27, 2017

At least 16 people are known to have been killed due to faulty Takata airbags.

Embattled Japanese auto supplier Takata Corp. is expected to formally enter a guilty plea in Detroit federal court on Monday, fulfilling the requirements of a deal with the U.S. Justice Department stemming from the cover-up of a deadly airbag defect.

The settlement will see Takata pay $1 billion to settle the case, including a $25 million fine, while also setting up a $125 million compensation fund for victims and family members. So far, at least 16 people are known to have been killed by the company’s malfunctioning airbags, with over 100 injured.

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The government also indicted three Takata executives for allegedly falsifying test reports in an effort to cover up the airbag problem. Dozens of different automotive brands have been impacted by the defect which has led to the recall of more than 42 million vehicles in the U.S. alone.

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Truck Carrying Takata Airbags Explodes, Killing One, Injuring Four

Supplier’s inflators already blamed for 14 deaths.

by on Aug.29, 2016

A drone image shows the scene of a Takata truck explosion. Photo courtesy Jalopnik.com.

A 69-year-old woman was killed as the result of a crash and subsequent explosion involving a truck carrying airbag inflators and the explosive ammonium nitrate used in those devices that was bound for a Takata Corp. warehouse in Eagle Pass, Texas.

Takata is the Japanese airbag supplier whose faulty inflators have so far been blamed for at least 14 deaths worldwide. That has triggered the recall of about 50 million inflators in the U.S. and more than 100 million worldwide.

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The incident occurred last week on U.S. Highway 277 not far from the Southern Texas Takata plant when the truck, operated by a contractor, was involved in a crash. The driver, 20-year-old Mario Alberto Rodriguez, and a passenger were able to escape before the vehicle caught fire and exploded. But the inferno that touched off damaged or destroyed a number of nearby homes, including one in which victim Lucila Robles was living.

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FCA to Stop Using Recall-Targeted Takata Airbags

Jeep Wranglers will switch to newer airbags “by next week.”

by on Jun.21, 2016

New Jeep Wranglers will now use an updated version of the Takata airbags, at least for North America.

(This story has been updated.)

The last Jeep Wrangler to use potentially defective Takata airbags will roll down the assembly line next week – for the North American market, anyway.

Jeep parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was recently identified as one of four manufacturers still using airbags produced by Japanese supplier Takata in new vehicles due to a shortage of safer replacement parts. The other manufacturers identified by the Senate Commerce Committee include Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volkswagen.

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FCA said it will switch to a new airbag design, “by next week,” for vehicles sold in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. It will, however, continue to use the older Takata airbags in Jeep Wranglers shipped to other markets.

The suspect airbags currently are not on the list of active recalls ordered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – but they will be over the next several years.

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Toyota Tells Dealers Not to Hide Future Takata Recalls

Several makers continue using defective airbags due to shortage of new inflators.

by on Jun.13, 2016

The Toyota 4Runner is one of the models the maker builds still using the suspect Takata airbags.

Stung by critics who revealed it is still using potentially defective Takata airbags in some of its new products, Toyota has told U.S. dealers they must disclose to buyers which vehicles will be subject to recall by 2018.

At least four automakers have continued using Takata inflators in some of their vehicles because of a shortage of new airbags using a safer design. The shortage has created a major problem for the industry, delaying repairs and forcing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to announce a phased recall of additional Takata airbags.

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Senator Bill Nelson, the Florida Democrat who disclosed the problem last month, has been urging automakers, at the least, to disclose when they sell vehicles that will ultimately be subject to a known recall over the next two years.

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Seven Automakers Add 4.4 Mil Vehicles to Takata Recall

Figure likely to grow by millions more.

by on Jun.02, 2016

A 2007 Chevrolet Suburban, one of the GM sport-ute models targeted by the latest recall.

Already the largest safety campaign in automotive history, seven automakers have added another 4.4 million vehicles to the list of cars, trucks and crossovers recalled due to defective Takata airbags.

Since mid-May, the figure has grown by more than 16 million vehicles, and that’s on top of the 24 million covered by a recall ordered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last autumn. And since NHTSA plans a phased campaign, millions more Takata airbags are expected to be recalled over the next two years.

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The latest move impacts BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar-Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen. But virtually every major automaker, and even smaller ones like Ferrari, have been touched by the ongoing crisis caused by airbags that can explode with deadly force. Of the makers involved in the latest action, GM has the largest numbers of vehicles impacted, about 1.9 million.

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Automakers Continue to Install Defective Takata Airbags on New Vehicles

And 2.1 mil defective inflators have been installed as replacements in older vehicles.

by on Jun.01, 2016

A Takata airbag after a crash.

(This story has been revised to include comments by FCA and Toyota.)

Even as federal safety regulators expand the ongoing recall of defective Takata airbags, four major automakers continue to install some of the potentially deadly devices on their newest vehicles, according to a new Senate report.

A number of manufacturers also are using defective Takata inflators as replacements for older airbags in about 2.1 million recalled vehicles. Federal regulators have approved that move as a temporary measure due to a shortage of replacements parts using newer, safer designs.

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The four manufacturers that acknowledge they are continuing to use defective Takata bags in new products are Fiat Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volkswagen, according to the report released today by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee.

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Eight Automakers to Recall 12 Mil Vehicles for Takata Airbags

Largest recall in history continues to grow.

by on May.27, 2016

The latest recall takes in millions of Honda vehicles, including this 2010 Civic.

The biggest safety recall in U.S. automotive history is about to get even bigger, eight automakers revealing they will recall 12 million vehicles to replace faulty Takata airbag inflators.

The move follows last month’s announcement by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it wanted as many as 40 million inflators replaced because they could malfunction during crashes. The exact number of vehicles that would cover wasn’t clear because some vehicles use more than one of the suspect devices.

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The list of manufacturers covered by the latest recall includes Toyota – which announced some other airbag service actions earlier this week – Fiat Chrysler, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Ferrari and Mitsubishi. And Honda will not only recall 2.2 million more automobiles but 2,700 of its Gold Wing motorcycles equipped with optional front airbags.

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Increasingly Desperate Takata Seeking Financial Bailout

Japanese airbag supplier planning to restructure, find new investors.

by on May.26, 2016

NHTSA recently added 40 million airbags to the recall.

Blamed for the largest safety recall in automotive history and facing potentially billions of dollars in legal and repair costs, embattled Japanese supplier Takata is reportedly exploring ways to restructure and bring in new investors.

Industry sources say that without new funding, Takata may no longer be viable. That could leave customers ranging such as General Motors, Daimler and Toyota stuck with the entire bill for replacing tens of millions of faulty airbags. It could also force nearly 20 manufacturers who have used Takata’s suspect airbag inflators to go searching for new sources of replacement parts.

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“The committee strongly believes that it is in the best interests of all Takata stakeholders for Takata and its automotive customers to reach a consensual resolution that addresses the costs of the inflator issues while enabling Takata to remain a viable and valued global supplier to the automotive industry,” Hideaki Sudo, a lawyer in Tokyo heading Takata’s new steering committee, said in a statement.

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Safety, Not Profits, Come First, says DoT Sec. Foxx

Airbag recall will proceed, even if it puts Takata out of business.

by on May.11, 2016

"We've got to keep our finger on it," said Sec. Foxx.

Safety is the top priority, said Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, and the expanding recall of potentially defective Takata airbags will proceed, even if that means putting the Japanese supplier out of business.

Takata produced the airbag inflators involved in the recall of about 24 million vehicles in the U.S. alone, devices so far linked to 13 fatalities worldwide. NHTSA last week announced it would add another 35 million to 40 million more Takata airbags on the recall list.

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There have been growing concerns that the expanded recall could put Takata out of business, but Foxx said that “can’t be the top concern we face,” during a Wednesday roundtable with reporters. “The airbags need to be recalled, and we have a responsibility to recall them.”

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Takata Ordered to Recall Up to 40 Mil More Airbags

Largest safety recall in history already impacting 24 mil vehicles.

by on May.04, 2016

High school senior Huma Hanif was the 11th person killed as a result of the Takata defect.

The largest safety recall in automotive history is about to get even bigger, federal regulators ordering embattled Japanese supplier Takata to recall as many as 40 million additional airbags linked to a defect already blamed for at least 11 deaths.

The previous recall involved about 24 million vehicles sold in the U.S. over roughly the last decade, with 14 manufacturers impacted. Virtually every other major carmaker will now be pulled into the latest recall.

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“This is the largest recall in American history, National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Mark Rosekind told reporters on Wednesday.

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