Despite concerted efforts to double and production of replacements, less than 35% of vehicle owners with Takata’s potentially explosive airbag inflators have managed to completed the needed repairs on their vehicles.
Senator Bill Nelson of Florida said just 15.8 million inflators of 46.2 million recalled inflators were repaired through mid-May. Nelson said his figures came from a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration independent monitor.
The recall began in 2015 after it was determined that the ignition materials may degrade over time and in certain instances explode, sending pieces of plastic and metal debris into the vehicle cabin. More than 15 deaths and 150 injuries worldwide have been tied to the inflators.
About 8.8 million owners have received recall notices, Nelson said, adding that in many instances were told no replacement parts were currently available.
(Four automakers settle Takata airbag suit for $553 million. Click Here for the details.)
Takata spokesman Jared Levy told Reuters the company “has dramatically increased the production of airbag replacement kits.” Takata has shipped over 26 million replacement kits, two-thirds of which include inflators manufactured by other suppliers, Levy said.
Though Nelson wants automakers to find ways to speed up the repair process, he’s also pointing a finger at the Trump Administration. He said that since Trump hasn’t put forth a nominee to lead the safety agency, there is no one leading the charge on the issue.
“We’re in desperate need of a leader who will commit to resolving this Takata mess,” Nelson said in a statement.
(Takata pleads guilty, setting up victims fund. Click Here for the story.)
Toyota, BMW, Mazda and Subaru all agreed to a $553 million settlement with owners of nearly 16 million vehicles with Takata airbag inflators. As part of the deal, they agreed to take new steps to inform owners about the problem and prod them to get recall repairs made.
Toyota will pay $278.5 million as part of the settlement while BMW will pay $131 million, Mazda $76 million and Subaru $68 million. Nineteen automakers used the faulty inflators
Takata pleaded guilty to criminal wrongdoing in January. The supplier agreed to pay $1 billion to resolve a federal investigation into the faulty inflators.
(Former FBI Director overseeing Takata funds. Click Here for the story.)
The company also agreed to establish $1 billion in restitution funds. The first includes $850 million to compensate automakers for recalls, and a second $125 million fund for individuals injured by its airbags who have not already reached a settlement.