Dec. 3, 2014 – Japanese supplier Takata has refused to comply with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) demand for an expanded recall of its airbags — which can explode with too much force — and instead passed along the decision to automakers. The deadline for a national recall of driver-side airbags, or face civil fines and legal action, was set for midnight Dec. 2.
At this time, 14 million vehicles worldwide have been recalled due to the airbag problem, but Takata has yet to pinpoint a cause, reported The Associated Press.
Takata spokesman Hideyuki Matsumoto said the company’s response to NHTSA was “neither a yes nor a no,” adding that Takata agreed to co-operate with the automakers on whatever they decide. He suggested it is up to the automakers to decide, not Takata, reported The Associated Press.
NHTSA called Takata’s reply “disappointing,” and said it was reviewing the response to determine the next steps. “Takata shares responsibility for keeping drivers safe and we believe anything short of a national recall does not live up to that responsibility.”
Today, Takata and some of the automakers are set to appear at a U.S. House subcommittee hearing on the matter.
At least seven automakers are teaming up for an industrywide investigation, led by Toyota and Honda. Toyota has announced it will ask the industry to hire an independent engineering company, and the affected companies would share results to figure out recall repairs. General Motors, Nissan, Subaru, Chrysler and Ford are also participating.
Meanwhile, Takata said it had formed a panel to investigate its inflator manufacturing process, and is also working with scientists who specialize in propellants, inflators, and air bag systems to evaluate its inflators.
According to The Associated Press, the government said it doesn’t have data to warrant a national recall of passenger side airbags.
— With files from Tom Krisher And Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press