Takata says re­design­ing some air bag in­fla­tors af­ter deaths, mas­sive re­calls

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

Ja­pan’s Takata said it would re­design some driver-side air bag in­fla­tors, in the lat­est chap­ter of a global auto parts scan­dal linked to six deaths and the re­call of mil­lions of ve­hi­cles.

In pre­pared tes­ti­mony to be de­liv­ered to the U.S. Congress on Tues­day, Kevin Kennedy, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent at Takata’s Amer­i­can arm TK Hold­ings, said the com­pany is push­ing ahead to re­place faulty air bag in­fla­tors, af­ter U.S. auto safety reg­u­la­tors or­dered the re­call of nearly 34 mil­lion ve­hi­cles.

Six deaths have been tied shrap­nel from the ex­plo­sive bags.

Kennedy said “most” in­juries and all the fa­tal­i­ties have in­volved an older ver­sion of its driver air bag in­fla­tor and that the firm was work­ing on re­plac­ing the part. to air

“Takata has ... com­mit­ted cease pro­duc­ing th­ese types driver in­fla­tors,” he said.

“And we are work­ing with our au­tomaker part­ners to tran­si­tion to newer ver­sions of driver in­fla­tors in our re­place­ment kits, or in­fla­tors made by other sup­pli­ers that do not con­tain am­mo­nium ni­trate pro­pel­lant.”

Takata has ac­knowl­edged that high hu­mid­ity can af­fect the to of chem­i­cal agent “in cer­tain cir­cum­stances,” which can re­sult in air bags de­ploy­ing with ex­ces­sive ex­plo­sive force — send­ing danger­ous shrap­nel into peo­ple the air bags are in­tended to pro­tect.

It added that other fac­tors, in­clud­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing, could also be in­volved. But the com­pany said it would con­tinue us­ing am­mo­nium ni­trate.

“We are go­ing to con­tinue us­ing am­mo­nium ni­trate, while we will change the de­sign of the driver­side air bag in­fla­tors,” a Toky­obased com­pany spokesman told AFP.

“We have re­ceived ques­tions from the me­dia about some con­fu­sion in (Kennedy’s) state­ment, but we have no plan to change the chem­i­cal,” he added.

Last month, Takata ad­mit­ted for the first time that its air bags in­stalled in the cars of 11 ma­jor au­tomak­ers world­wide are de­fec­tive.

It agreed with the U.S. Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion to re­place air bags or air bag in­fla­tors in all cars and trucks in the U.S. equipped with them, in what will amount to the largest-ever ve­hi­cle re­call.

Re­calls will fo­cus first on cars in Hawaii and south­ern states, where the cli­mate could be ex­ac­er­bat­ing the prob­lem.

Kennedy stressed that the com­pany be­lieved the new re­place­ment in­fla­tors, be­ing man­u­fac­tured by Takata as well as other sup­pli­ers, are fully safe.

“I want to em­pha­size that we have con­fi­dence in the in­fla­tors we are pro­duc­ing to­day ... We be­lieve that, prop­erly man­u­fac­tured and in­stalled, th­ese in­fla­tors will work as de­signed to save lives.”

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