Sixty Million Car Bombs: Inside Takata’s Airbag Crisis

Bushra Zia

Sixty Million Car Bombs: Inside Takata’s Airbag Crisis

Published: June 2, 2016

takataAuthors:

Susan Berfield susanberfield

Article Overview

“How the company’s failures led to lethal products and the biggest auto recall in history.

The first Takata recall had come seven years earlier, in 2008, limited to air bags in about 4,000 Hondas. The effort has been expanded 20 times, most recently in May, and is the largest and most complex in U.S. history. It covers more than 60 million air bags in vehicles from BMW, Ford, Honda, Tesla, Toyota, and 12 others, or one of every five cars on the road in the U.S. The recall could affect more than 100 million vehicles around the world. Shrapnel from the devices has killed 13 people, including 10 in the U.S., and injured more than 100.

It will take at least three years for Takata and other manufacturers to make enough air bags to replace the company’s defective ones. Because of their chemistry, Takata’s devices become less stable over time. That leaves millions of drivers with cars that could contain an air bag that’s like a ticking time bomb.

A Senate investigation and personal injury litigation have turned up company documents suggesting that Takata executives discounted concerns from their own employees and hid the potential danger from Honda, their biggest customer, as well as from U.S. regulators.” (Bloomberg Businessweek Features)

Discussion

I understand the greed of the Takata family for hiding the explosive airbags and earning millions of dollars from it. However, the engineers and lower management half-heartedly tried to confront the top management about the defective airbags. They took the easy way out by either agreeing with the corrupt management or leaving the company. Takata engineers should have acted as whistle blowers instead of washing their hands off the issue.

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