NEW YORK: During a US Congress subcommittee hearing in Washington, Takata Senior Vice President Hiroshi Shimizu rejected regulators’ demand for a nationwide recall, setting up a possible legal showdown over the company’s faulty airbags. The company claims the problem was limited to high-humidity areas.
Shimizu told US lawmakers that there was “not enough scientific evidence” to change from a regional recall to a national recall.
“Ongoing tests have not shown any ruptures in inflators retrieved from vehicles outside the areas of high absolute humidity,” he said.
Over the past 6 years, airbag supplier Takata and 10 auto makers issued a series of recalls covering 8 million cars in the United States, mostly in high-humidity areas such as the Gulf coast, Hawaii, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands.
At issue are malfunctioning inflators in Takata air bags which cause them to explode, spraying metal fragments into the passenger compartment. Five deaths have been linked to the problem.
After incidents in California and North Carolina, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has begun pressing for the recall of an additional 8 million vehicles from coast to coast. NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman told the US Congress committee that the problem evidently wasn’t limited to “areas of absolute, high-humidity” and that a regional recall was “no longer appropriate.” The judgment was flatly rejected by Takata Hiroshi Shimizu