As investigations into the largest automotive recall in history continue, top-selling automakers Toyota, Honda, and Mazda Motor Corporation have announced they are dropping Takata as the primary supplier of their vehicles’ airbags.
Takata, a Japanese manufacturing company, built and distributed airbags containing a volatile chemical agent that can destabilize an airbag’s inner pressure, causing it to explode.
When Takata’s airbags explode, potentially deadly metal shrapnel is propelled toward drivers and passengers. To date, 100 people have been injured and eight have died as a direct result ofTakata’s exploding airbags.
According to American safety regulators, a chemical propellant known as ammonium nitrate is the main culprit behind these dangerous airbag explosions. Therefore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has imposed a penalty of $70 million to any company that continues to use ammonium nitrate propellant in its airbags.
In an additional development, side airbag ruptures in Volkswagen and General Motors’ vehicles are currently being inspected, as U.S. safety regulators are now considering recalling vehicles that may be equipped with faulty Takata side-impact airbags.
The NHTSA has determined vehicles that are most at risk for faulty airbag explosions are those that are driven in hot and humid climates for a period of five years or longer. The NHTSA has also announced a national campaign may be launched in order to educate car owners about the importance of getting their vehicle repaired as soon as possible.
Currently, 19 million vehicles have been recalled due to malfunctioning Takata airbags, including vehicles manufactured by Ford, Fiat Chrysler, BMW, Toyota, General Motors, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Honda, and Daimier.
Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru vehicles, and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation have indicated they are considering following in the footsteps of Toyota, Honda, and Mazda and dropping Takata as a supplier of airbags for their vehicles.
If you own a vehicle equipped with a defective Takata airbag, contact the skilled product liability lawyers at The Eichholz Law Firm today.