Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Takata to expand recall of air bag inflators.

News outlets report that according to some sources, Takata may soon announce the recall of 35 million to 40 million additional airbag inflators in the US. CNBC (5/3, 2.45M) reports that the recall expansion will be “phased in over several years and more than double what is already the largest and most complex auto safety recall in U.S. history.” The article writes that the NHTSA “told Takata they need to expand the recall based on the government’s determination of the root cause of the problems.” NHTSA spokesperson Bryan Thomas did not confirm the expanded recall. Thomas said, “NHTSA has reviewed the findings of three separate investigations into the Takata air bag ruptures. The recall of Takata air bag inflators... continues and the agency will take all appropriate actions to make sure air bags in Americans’ vehicles are safe.” Takata spokesman Jared Levy also did not confirm the expanded recall, but said Takata is “working with regulators and our automaker customers to develop long-term, orderly solutions to these important safety issues.”
        The AP (5/3, Krisher) notes that last year, NHTSA and Takata reached an agreement requiring the company to “prove that the inflators are safe or begin recalling them in 2018.” The AP notes that an expansion of the recall “would cost Takata billions on top of what it already has spent replacing inflators, raising concerns about the company’s financial health”.
        The Wall Street Journal (5/3, Spector, Subscription Publication, 6.27M) reports that Takata recently disclosed $189 million in financial losses for year end because recall costs and legal claims. The Journal also mentions that Takata was fined $70 million for failing to alert the US government of the airbag defect. The Journal estimates that the fine could increase to $200 million.
        The New York Times (5/3, Tabuchi, Subscription Publication, 14.18M) reports that due to the large scale of the recall, “there has been a persistent shortage of parts in many areas of the country, forcing many car owners to ask for loaners if they can get them or drive their cars knowing of the danger.”
        Reuters (5/3, Shepardson) reports that the growing cost of the recalls have prompted Takata to seek a financial backer.

        USA Today (5/3, della Cava, 6.31M), Bloomberg News (5/3, Plungis, Lippert, 2.07M), International Business Times (5/3, Young, 670K), AFP (5/3), and Engadget (5/4, Fingas, 844K) also report on the story. 

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