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Takata Runs Full-Page Ad Claiming It Will Do More

Supplier declines to join Ford to expand recall nationally.

by on Dec.18, 2014

Ford is the latest automaker to expand its recall of Takata airbags from a regional action to a national one.

Beleaguered auto supplier Takata took out full-page ads in several newspapers today saying more must be done to resolve the problem with its airbags, but a national recall of the faulty devices was not the answer.

And then Ford expanded its recall of the airbags to a national action.

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The ad, which was an open letter from Takata CEO Shigehisa Takada, was published in The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and three German papers. In the letter, Takada, who is the grandson of the company’s founder, outlined what the company was doing to try and rectify the situation, such as increasing the number of replacement parts being manufactured from 300,000 a month to 450,000, asking other airbag suppliers to produce parts and tripling the amount of testing it’s conducting on airbags. (more…)

Feds Will Force Takata, Makers to Expand Airbag Recall

NHTSA preparing court case if companies decline request.

by on Dec.16, 2014

Takata's Hiroshi Shimizu said the company does not feel it's appropriate to expand the recall of its airbags.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continues to try to reassert itself as the nation’s safety watchdog by announcing its working on building a case it can use in court against Takata Corp. and three automaker to compel them to expand the existing regional airbag recall to a national action.

David Freidman, NHTSA’s deputy administrator, said today the agency is pressuring the Japanese supplier as well as Ford, Chrysler and BMW to enlarge the recall, which would add another 5 million vehicles to action. Currently, there are just under 8 million.

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Regulators will take the companies to court, if necessary, to compel them to take those steps, Friedman told reporters, adding the agency is reviewing tens of thousands of pages to develop “an airtight case” to present in federal court if the makers don’t comply voluntarily. (more…)

Takata Uncertain When It Will Have Enough Parts for Recall

Partsmaker facing serious financial impact due to action.

by on Nov.03, 2014

Takata isn't sure how long it will take to manufacture enough replacements for its defective airbags.

Despite pressure from automakers and automotive regulators, embattled Japanese safety systems supplier Takata says it has no idea how soon it will be able to provide the parts needed to complete last month’s recall of 7.8 million vehicles due to potentially deadly airbags.

The company acknowledges it is facing what could become the second class-action lawsuit related to a recall that has so far been linked to four deaths and a number of injuries. And a Takata official says the supplier is discussing with its customers how it might have to help them cover the massive costs associated with the airbag recall.

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“But right now, that is not a top priority,” spokesman Alby Berman says. “For now, the top priority is getting replacements parts out.” (more…)

NHTSA’s Friedman Apologizes for Takata Snafu

Deputy chief acknowledges errors in Monday warning.

by on Oct.23, 2014

David Friedman, NHTSA's deputy administrator, apologized for underreporting the number of vehicles equipped with faulty Takata airbags by 3.1 million cars.

The nation’s top automotive safety official issued an apology late yesterday regarding the issuance of incorrect information about the number of vehicles equipped with faulty Takata airbags.

David Friedman, deputy administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, offered up the apology in a statement after the agency shorted the total number of vehicles with the airbags by 3.1 million vehicles.

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NHTSA also forgot to include two automakers – Ford and Subaru – in the tally, used incorrect figures for others, including counting vehicles from General Motors that didn’t actually use the airbags. (more…)

New Touch Sensor Could Keep Drunks Off the Road

System could be built into a car’s start button.

by on Sep.30, 2011

A prototype system used to detect drunk drivers might eventually be small and cheap enough to be built into a car's Start button.

Imagine a sensor small enough to slip inside of your car’s Start button that could be used to keep drunk drivers off the road.

That’s the goal of a multi-million-dollar project teaming supplier Detroit automotive supplier Takata and TruTouch, of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  With help from the Automotive Coalition for Automotive Safety, or ACTS, they’re hoping to take the concept and put it into production.

Drunk driving is a scourge of the highway, and while intensive enforcement has helped drive down the numbers drivers over the legal limit are still responsible for nearly a third of all U.S. motor vehicle fatalities – about 11,000 in 2010.

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The challenge is to either convince drivers not to drink and drive or to actively prevent them from doing so.  Takata and TruTouch have come up with a device that could do just that.  Rather than awkward breathalyzers that require a user to blow into a tube, or a truly invasive blood test, their prototype system uses an infrared sensor.

(more…)