Honda Motor Co. is claiming that Takata Corp. routinely manipulated results of air-bag inflator tests that were reported to the automaker. This comes from an ongoing audit commissioned by Takata and Honda. Takata engineers removed some test results to artificially reduce variability in air-bag inflator performance, Brian O’Neill, a former Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) president, told Bloomberg in an interview. Takata and Honda jointly hired O’Neill to perform the audit in late October, days before Honda first announced findings of data manipulation. O’Neill had this to say:
We have found examples of what I would call “selective editing,” where they have left out results not because they were bad results, but because the results that remained were better. We found evidence that the report that went to Honda was a shorter version of the original version, and it was a prettier shortened version.
The results of the audit will factor in Honda’s investigation into whether it should recall some additional Takata inflators, according to Chris Martin, a spokesman for the automaker. As we previously reported, no new Honda or Acura models under development will be equipped with Takata-supplied inflators.
It appears Takata also altered and misrepresented test data in reports to Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and General Motors Co. Brian Mayville, a Takata engineering manager, said during a deposition taken in November that select reports were not properly represented to Toyota and GM.
It appears that O’Neill and his team have more work to do. The next phase is to review more data pertaining to worldwide Takata inflators for Honda vehicles. O’Neill says that once they receive the data, this phase of the audit may take two to three months. It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out.
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