Takata Thumbs Nose At U.S. Regulators Over Vehicle Airbag Recall

Japan-based Takata Corporation isn't eligible for the Consumerist's Worst Company in America designation, as voted on by its readers, but that hasn't stopped the company from making all the wrong moves. Just a few weeks ago, the company stood accused of destroying test records that showed design flaws in its airbags, and now it's ignored the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's deadline to expand the recall of airbags that might be fatally flawed.

The NHTSA gave Takata until midnight to comply with its order for a nationwide recall, which the company let pass. Takata asserts that it should be the automakers who determine if a recall is necessary, not the suppliers. That said, Takata vowed to "fully cooperate" with auto manufacturers that do decide to issue a recall.


That act of defiance didn't sit well with the NHTSA, which could fine the corporation up to $35 million for failing to comply with its order.

"Takata shares responsibility for keeping drivers safe and we believe anything short of a national recall does not live up to that responsibility," NHTSA said in a statement. "We will review Takata's response in full to determine next steps."

The issue here is that Takata's airbags have been found to have a design flaw that causes them to inflate with more force than was intended. In cases where the airbags exploded, shrapnel would fly about the cabin and cause injuries to passengers. It's believed that at least four people have died as a result of the design defect, while at least two others were left blind in one eye.