Takata Corp., the Japanese manufacturer whose defective airbags triggered the largest safety recall ever, also may have made and supplied faulty seatbelts to automakers, new findings from an audit of the now-defunct manufacturer indicate.
Joyson Safety Systems, formerly known as Key Safety Systems, purchased much of Takata’s assets after Takata declared bankruptcy in April 2018, crushed by the expense of its global airbag recalls. Joyson has been thoroughly reviewing Takata’s reports and discovered inaccuracies in its seatbelt webbing test data, according to Reuters.
“JSS is currently reviewing available and relevant data over a 20-year period on a test-by-test and product-by-product basis,” said JSS Global Communications Director Bryan Johnson in a statement, Reuters reported.
The test data inaccuracies stem from reports in Takata’s Hikone, Japan, facility, which Joyson acquired. The bad data was recorded before Joyson’s acquisition of the company.
While it’s too early to tell if Takata seatbelts are unsafe and need to be recalled like its airbag inflators, there’s a troubling similarity between the two components.
Takata pleaded guilty in 2017 to criminal charges in the U.S. over its defective airbag inflators, including using false inflator test results when it sold its faulty airbags to automakers.
Due to the hypersensitive and easily degradable ammonium nitrate propellant Takata used in its inflators, its airbags are prone to explode upon deployment. The excessive force can blast the airbag unit into deadly metal shrapnel, killing vehicle occupants. Takata’s airbags have been blamed for the deaths of at least 26 people, including 17 in the U.S. Hundreds more motorists have been maimed by the exploding airbags.
According to Reuters, Japan’s transport ministry has already told automakers to prepare for a recall of the Takata seat belts involved. The agency also asked Joyson to submit a report on its investigation of the data inaccuracies.
Japanese officials are still trying to figure out which and how many cars have been equipped with the potentially flawed seatbelts. A recall of the Takata-made seatbelts could be massive. Joyson is the leading seatbelt maker in Japan and one of the largest in the world, supplying 40% of the market share within Japan and nearly a third globally.
Auto Products Liability
Chris Glover, managing attorney in our Atlanta office, has handled a number of claims related to defective airbags and other cases involving auto products liability. If you feel you have a claim involving a defective seatbelt or airbag of any type, our attorneys would like to talk to you. You may be entitled to compensation. If you or someone you know has been involved in a vehicle accident and suffered serious injuries you feel are related to a seatbelt or airbag that did not operate as it should, contact us today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation.