Some 20 owners of cars that have airbags made by Takata have already scheduled appointments this November with Joeten Motors Corp. and the automotive dealer service representative said that’s about the average number since the announcement of the recall in local newspapers.
“We have plenty [of] appointments, that’s all I can say to you,” she said before referring Saipan Tribune to the official Honda website for further information. Joeten Motors is the local dealer of Honda vehicles.
Other vehicles affected by the Takata recall are Toyota cars, which are sold locally by Atkins Kroll. A complete list of recalled vehicles can be found at http://www.safercar.gov/rs/takata/images/pdfs/TakataPriorityGroups.pdf
On Nov. 7, 2014, The New York Times published a report that Takata, an automotive parts company based in Japan with production facilities on four continents, was fully aware of airbag defects in car models such as Honda, Toyota, Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Subaru, and General Motors, with Honda topping the list as the most high-risk vehicle in need of recall.
According to the Times report, former Takata employees state that the defects date back to 2004 when the company conducted tests on their airbags from scrap yards, done at the request of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to address a cushion tearing issue. The results showed that a defective airbag inflator and propellant caused airbags to deploy improperly and cause steel shrapnel to impale drivers.
Takata failed to alert the NHTSA of the issue since the early 2000’s and only issued a statement in July, saying that humid weather in addition improper propellant handling during assembly caused the issue.
At least eight people have been killed worldwide and hundreds injured.
As of yesterday, a total of 41 million vehicles have been recalled worldwide. On Nov. 3 of this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued Takata a $70-million penalty with an additional $200 million if any further violations are found. A day later, Honda issued a statement that it will no longer use air bag components from Takata, with Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, and Ford following suit.
American Honda Motor Co. issued a statement on their website stating, “We have become aware of evidence that suggests that Takata misrepresented and manipulated test data for certain airbag inflators. Honda expects its suppliers to act with integrity at all times and we are deeply troubled by this apparent behavior by one of our suppliers. As to Takata airbag inflators now being used by Honda, the root cause analysis of inflator ruptures is ongoing, and may indicate that further action is needed. Honda will act promptly if those results indicate the presence of a safety-related defect in any Takata airbag inflator used by Honda.”
The NHTSA noted that immediate action is recommended if your vehicle is registered in the areas around the Gulf of Mexico, including Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands, and Hawaii.
If you have a car that dates back to 2004 in any of the mentioned makes, log on to www.recalls.gov to confirm whether your airbag needs replacement.