Takata Corp has now admitted it failed to inform the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of a 2003 rupture of one of its air bag inflators in Switzerland. An internal Takata report was released by NHTSA that revealed this problem. Takata also said in the report that its U.S. arm, not the parent company, was largely responsible for designing, testing and producing tens of millions of defective air bag inflators. NHTSA released a series of reports last month into Takata’s defective air bag inflators.
In the United States, nearly 70 million inflators have been declared defective. The internal Takata internal report released examined the Japanese company’s handling of the problems since the inflators were first produced in 2000 as well as outside experts’ analysis of the defect. In one event detailed in the report, Takata said it did not inform the NHTSA when it learned in 2003 of the rupture of an inflator in Switzerland. A U.S. engineer at Takata asked if that incident should have been disclosed to the NHTSA in 2010, but it was not. Reuters reported on the 2003 incident in December 2014.
A Takata spokesman said the report was required by NHTSA as part of the company’s settlement announced in November. Reports released included one from Germany’s Fraunhofer Group commissioned by Takata, which said prolonged exposure to moisture and hot conditions could cause the propellant used in inflators to become more volatile. This finding was consistent with Fraunhofer’s previous assessments and other independent analyses.
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