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Honda says Takata airbag killed driver

A woman killed in a car crash in Florida last week was most likely the victim of a faulty Takata airbag inflator, Honda has said. If confirmed by authorities, it would be the 19th death worldwide linked to the defective airbags.

Honda said the 34-year-old woman was driving a 2002 Honda Accord. According to Reuters, an official cause of death has not been announced by authorities.

A 2002 Honda Accord

A minor crash can become deadly if a vehicle contains a Takata airbag, as they can explode under excessive force and fire metal shrapnel inside the cabin.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration said vehicles produced between 2001-2003 had a 50 per cent chance rupturing in a crash, and urged the 300,000 drivers currently on US roads to get the airbags replaced.

The 2002 Accord at the centre of last week’s crash was initially recalled in 2011. Honda said it had mailed 21 recall notices, including ten notices to the current owner, but the repairs were never completed.

Last year, investigators found that the ammonium nitrate propellant, which has been identified as the cause of the airbag explosions, was much more likely to combust in hot, humid conditions, particularly over time.

Honda said that older vehicles, particularly those manufactured between 2001 and 2003, are most at risk, and owners should seek a repair as soon as possible. 17 of the total deaths related to Takata airbags have been in Honda vehicles since May 2009.

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Faulty airbag kills Australian man

A 2007 Honda CR-V, similar to the vehicle that crashed in Cabramatta.

A faulty Takata airbag is “likely” to blame for the death of a 58-year-old man in Sydney, NSW Police has said.

The driver of a 2007 Honda CR-V collided with a Toyota Celica at an intersection in the south-western suburb of Cabramatta on July 13. The man died at the scene, while the driver of the Celica and passengers from both cars suffered minor injuries.

The Metropolitan Crash Investigation Unit has determined the likely cause of death was a small piece of shrapnel, which was lodged into the man’s neck after the airbag exploded.

Honda Australia released a statement expressing their sympathy over the weekend, and confirmed the vehicle was part of a global recall due to a faulty Takata airbag.

“We are aware through NSW Police that an accident occurred on July 13, 2017, and resulted in the tragic death of the driver,” said director Stephen Collins.

“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family of the driver during this difficult time. The vehicle involved, a 2007 Honda CR-V, was the subject of Takata airbag inflator recalls.”

“Honda Australia is working closely with authorities to provide whatever assistance is required.”

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) also announced on Monday morning that it would be investigating the incident, and is seeking more information from government authorities around the information provided to consumers about the recall.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Drive magazine found over the weekend that over a million drivers in Australia are still waiting to have their airbags replaced. 2.1 million vehicles in total have been recalled across the ditch.

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Mazda recalls 680,642 cars in China

China’s FAW Car Co Ltd, a partner of Mazda Motor Corp, from Japan, will recall 680,642 Mazda cars due to faulty air bags supplied by Takata.

The recall includes domestic Mazda 6 vehicles manufactured between September 2008 and January 2016 in China, the country’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (GAQSIQ) said in a statement on Friday.

The issue was found in the front passenger airbag, which the GAQSIQ called a “safety risk.”

The Chinese safety watchdog also requested on Friday that car makers General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen fulfil their recall obligations in China and replace cars affected by faulty Takata airbags.

The airbags have been linked to at least 16 deaths and 180 injuries worldwide, with over 100 million vehicles recalled.

Takata filed for bankruptcy in June, and was purchased by US-based Key Safety Systems for $2.2 billion. Takata’s legal liabilities, which include a $1.2 billion settlement with major global car makers, will be left behind in a separate company.

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Takata to file for bankruptcy

A faulty Takata air bag inflator

Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp is preparing to file for bankruptcy as soon as next week, while the company works towards a deal to secure financial backing from American car parts maker Key Safety Systems, Reuters has reported.

The deal with Key Safety has been going on for months, and Reuters claims Key is expected to acquire Takata assets as part of the bankruptcy restructuring.

Nikkei reported a new company created under Key Safety will purchase Takata operations for $2.25 billion and will continue supplying air bags, seat belts and other products to car makers, and leave the legal liabilities behind in a separate entity.

A $1.2 billion settlement between Takata and major global car makers agreed to earlier this year is potentially at stake. The settlement was part of the largest-ever safety recall in automotive history, with 100 million cars affected by the faulty air bag inflators.

The deal between Takata and Key Safety systems may not be reached before the Japanese company files for bankruptcy next week, and major car makers have previously expressed concern that should Takata file for bankruptcy before a deal is in place, it may affect the production of replacement air bag inflators.

A US judge has earlier said the costs of replacing all faulty Takata air bag inflators could exceed $11 billion.

In New Zealand, over 110,000 affected vehicles have been identified, which includes both new and used cars. As of March this year, just 22 per cent of owners have been told a replacement is available.

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Airbag list update

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has announced a reduced list of vehicles requiring visual verification that the passenger airbag is connected.

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