Takata Corp., whose exploding airbag modules have caused the largest-ever U.S. automotive recall, has told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration it will no longer use ammonium nitrate, a volatile chemical, in its airbag inflators. As has been widely reported, the Japanese supplier is at the center of a global recall of tens of millions of cars for potentially deadly airbag inflators that could deploy with too much force and spray metal fragments inside vehicles. Use of ammonium nitrate as a propellant in Takata airbags has been linked to dozens of ruptured inflators since 2003. The defective inflators have been linked to eight reported deaths and hundreds of injuries.
The agreement to stop using ammonium nitrate was detailed by Takata executive Kevin Kennedy in written testimony prepared prior to a hearing before a U.S. House panel last month. Discovery of a root cause of Takata’s airbag problems “is not imminent,” according to David Kelly, head of an automakers’ coalition investigating Takata airbag inflator ruptures. Hopefully, both NHTSA and Takata will be able to resolve all of the safety issues that have caused so many deaths and injuries.
Toyota Motor Corp. said late last month it is looking into using air bag inflators made by suppliers besides Takata to keep up with the pace of recalls. The automaker indicated that it is looking to a number of auto parts makers and other suppliers including Japanese chemical company Daicel Corp., Swedish-American automotive safety tech company Autoliv and Japanese chemical maker Nippon Kayaku Co. Ltd.
Source: Claims Journal
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