Friday, November 7, 2014

Takata believed to have conducted secret tests on airbags.

In continuing coverage of the exploding Takata airbags, the New York (NY) Times (11/7, Tabuchi, Subscription Publication, 9.9M) reports in a front page story that two former Takata employees are saying that the company “secretly conducted tests on 50 airbags” in 2004. The Times reports that the employees claim that two of the 50 airbags tested had their steel inflaters crack during testing, “a condition that can lead to rupture.” However, the employees say that Takata did not inform safety regulators and instead “Takata executives discounted the results, and ordered the lab technicians to delete the testing data from their computers and dispose of the airbag inflaters in the trash.” The Times reports that Honda has previously said “said it was assured by Takata in 2004 that the episode in Alabama, which involved a 2002 Honda Accord, was an anomaly.” Honda spokesman Chris Martin said in a statement, “This is a serious allegation about actions taken by Takata. It is our intention to determine whether anyone at Honda has any evidence that these claims are credible.” ,
        Other outlets reported on the Times’ coverage, including USA Today (11/6, 9.86M), Reuters (11/7), and The Oregonian (11/7, 690K).
        Honda expands airbag campaign to recall. Bloomberg News (11/7, Trudell, 1.94M) reports that Honda upgraded its campaign to replace Takata airbags in the US from a safety campaign to a formal recall. Bloomberg reports that NHTSA told car owners of affected vehicles that they should take their vehicles to have the airbags replaced.
        The AP (11/6) reports that the upgrade “comes just a few days after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration demanded information in an investigation from Honda about its air bag recalls.”
        Similar coverage was provided by the Wall Street Journal (11/7, Rogers, Kubota, Subscription Publication, 5.62M), Bloomberg BusinessWeek (11/6, 2.52M), and Reuters (11/7).

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