Air Bag Fiasco

Recalling my HONDA.  This bothers me and I wonder if it bothers you?  I got a call from the dealership which sold me my Honda Fit.  It seems that my Fit has a defective air bag and needs to be replaced.  Takata air bags are defective.  There has been ten deaths and over a hundred people hurt by the air bag exploding in the face of the driver after a crash.

Now the dealership will replace the air bag.  I had to sign a document that I would not drive the car, I had to park it in the driveway.  I was given a loaner car for the time it will take for the part to come in.

Now I am okay with that part.  But how long did Honda know the air bag was defective?
How long did I drive a car that could have caused me damage or maybe killed me because of the Takata air bag?  They knew it and let it go until the suit was reached and then they reacted.  I paid a high price for a defective car and I feel even thought they are fixing the problem that compensation should be included in the package.  They should be penalized for their slowness on fixing the problem.  For allowing people to drive in harms way.

Maybe $500 dollars paid to each one involved?  Something to make them understand that we are not guinea pigs.

Am I in the minority or do you feel the same way?  Tanaka should bear the brunt of this?

The final question is the air bag being replace by another Tanaka product or one of its sub contractors?  They lied and knew that  they were the cause of the problem and now I am suppose to believe them?  What are your thoughts?

Vehicles made by 14 different automakers have been recalled to replace frontal airbags on the driver’s side or passenger’s side, or both in what NHTSA has called “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.” The airbags, made by major parts supplier Takata, were mostly installed in cars from model year 2002 through 2015. Some of those airbags could deploy explosively, injuring or even killing car occupants. (Look for details below on waits for replacement airbags.)

At the heart of the problem is the airbag’s inflator, a metal cartridge loaded with propellant wafers, which in some cases has ignited with explosive force. If the inflator housing ruptures in a crash, metal shards from the airbag can be sprayed throughout the passenger cabin—a potentially disastrous outcome from a supposedly life-saving device.

NHTSA has determined the root cause of the problem: airbags that use ammonium nitrate-based propellent without a chemical drying agent. As postulated early on, environmental moisture, high temperatures, and age as associated with the defect that can improperly inflate the airbags and even send shrapnel into the occupant. To date, there have been 10 deaths and more than 100 injuries due to this problem in the U.S.

Through various announcements, the recall has tripled in size over the past year. It currently stands at more than 100 million vehicles worldwide with airbag inflators needing to be replaced before 2019.

The safety agency has not yet announced the vehicles that are included in the expansion. NHTSA will consult the affected automakers to determine a rollout schedule for the recall, prioritizing the highest-risk vehicles.

1995 seat belt recall

In May 1995, a recall in the U.S. affecting 8,428,402 predominantly Japanese built vehicles made from 1986 to 1991 with seat belts manufactured by the Takata Corporation of Japan, was begun. It was called at the time the “second largest recall in the 30 year history of the Department of Transportation (DOT)”. The recall was prompted by an investigation (PE94-052) carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Takata-equipped Honda vehicles, after many of their owners complained of seat belt buckles either failing to latch, latching and releasing automatically, or releasing in accidents. It revealed that potentially faulty Takata seat belts were not limited only to Honda vehicles, but to other Japanese imports as well. NHTSA opened up a second investigation on Takata seatbelts broadly (EA94-036) as well as individual investigations on the vehicle manufacturers using Takata seat belts to determine the magnitude of the defect. This second investigation was only limited to the front seat belt buckles and in particular Takata’s 52X and A7X models. This determined that a total of 11 manufacturers were affected by the investigation. Japanese models sold in the United States by American Honda Motor Co., Isuzu Motors of America Inc., Mazda Motor of America Inc., Nissan North America, Daihatsu Motor Co., American, Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America Inc. and Subaru of America Inc. also had affected seat belt buckles. Moreover, Chrysler, General Motors and Ford all had various models manufactured by Japanese companies with the seat belt buckles concerned, but sold under American names such as the Dodge Stealth and the Geo series (except Prizm) under General Motors. Ford had vehicles such as the Probe manufactured by Mazda on its MX-6 platform and the Festiva made by Kia in South Korea, but engineered by Mazda that also had the seat belts. However, unlike Chrysler and General Motors, Ford did not admit that their seat belts could be defective.

Initially, some Japanese manufacturers suspected that the seat belt failures were a result of user abuse, rather than a design failure; however, the nine-month investigation by NHTSA concluded that the cause of the defect was that the buckles were made of ABS plastic. Through exposure to ultraviolet light over a period of time, the plastic became brittle and pieces fell off, causing a jamming of the release button mechanism.

The manufacturers involved agreed to a voluntary recall, though this did not go smoothly, with only 18% of the 8.9 million cars and trucks with the Takata belt buckle having been repaired two years after the recall had begun. In addition, NHTSA assessed a $50,000 civil penalty against both Honda and Takata for failing to notify the agency about the seat belt defect in a timely manner. Honda was fined, because NHTSA believed the company knew about the hazard at least five years before the recall, but never reported the problem to NHTSA nor offered to conduct a voluntary recall.[5]

Defective airbag recalls (2013–present)

Takata began making airbags in 1988 and, as of 2014, holds 20 percent of the market. During 2013, several automakers began large recalls of vehicle due to Takata-made airbags. Reports state that the problems may have begun a decade before.[6]

Honda stated they knew of more than 100 injuries and eight deaths (seven in the United States plus one in Malaysia) that were related to Takata airbags.[6][7][8][9]

In April and May 2013, a total of 3.6 million cars were recalled due to defective Takata airbags.[6] All of those airbags were made at, or otherwise used inflator units manufactured by, Takata’s Monclova Plant[10] in Coahuila, Mexico, operated by Takata’s North American/Mexican subsidiary, TK Holdings Inc.[11] In November 2014, BMW announced they will move any orders from the Mexican plant to a Takata plant in Germany.[12]

In June 2014, Takata admitted their Mexican subsidiary had mishandled the manufacture of explosive propellants and improperly stored chemicals used in airbags. Identifying vehicles with defective airbags was made more difficult by the failure of TK Holdings Inc. to keep proper quality control records. That prompted another round of recalls in June 2013.[6]

In their statement the company said, “We take this situation seriously, will strengthen our quality control and make a concerted effort to prevent a recurrence”.[6]

On June 23, 2014, auto manufacturers BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota announced they were recalling over three million vehicles worldwide due to Takata Corporation-made airbags. The reason was that they could rupture and send flying debris inside the vehicle. This was in response to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation that was initiated after the NHTSA received three injury complaints.[6]

In a statement on June 23, 2014, Takata said they thought excessive moisture was the cause of the defect. Haruo Otani, an official at the vehicle recall section of the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, said that moisture and humidity could be seeping inside inflators, destabilizing the volatile propellant inside.[6]

In July 2014, a pregnant Malaysian woman was killed in a collision involving her 2003 Honda City which contained the defective airbag. The woman, aged 42, died when a metal fragment from a ruptured driver’s airbag sliced into her neck in the accident in which she was driving at around 30 km/h when another vehicle hit her at a junction, according to a lawsuit filed by her father at a Miami federal court. Her daughter, delivered after the mother’s death, died three days later.[13][14]

On November 18, 2014, the NHTSA ordered Takata to initiate a nationwide airbag recall. The action came as 10 automakers in the U.S. recalled hundreds of thousands of cars equipped with potentially faulty air bags manufactured by Takata.[15]

As of May 19, 2015, Takata is now responsible for the largest auto recall in history. Takata has already recalled 40 million vehicles across 12 vehicle brands for “Airbags that could explode and potentially send shrapnel into the face and body of both the driver and front seat passenger”. [16] This recall will bring the number up to about 53 million automobiles eligible for this recall. In November 2015, Takata was fined $200 Million ($70 million paid upfront) by U.S. federal regulators in response to Takata admittance of a default.[17] Toyota, Mazda and Honda have said that they will not use ammonium nitrate inflators.[18][19]

On May 4, 2016, the NHTSA announced recall campaigns of an additional estimated 35-40 million inflators, adding to the already 28.8 million inflators previously recalled.[20]

Note: This is not the first time there has been a recall of Takata products.

Note the first recall of the air bags was in 2013.  That means people have been rolling the dice on the safety of their air bags for nearly three years.  Is that not to long for a situation to continue?



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