It’s quite evident that Takata had to know about its airbag problems for a very long time. The following are some key events in the cumulative global recall the automakers whose cars have been recalled since 2008. There have been more than 34 million cars fitted with the defective airbags made by the Takata Corp.
Nov. 4: Honda Motor recalled 4,000 Accords and Civics (2001 models) globally as Takata airbag inflators may produce excessive internal pressure causing them to rupture and spray metal fragments in the car.
May 27: Oklahoma teen Ashley Parham died when the airbag in her 2001 Honda Accord explodes, shooting metal fragments into her neck. Honda and Takata denied fault, and settled for an undisclosed sum.
Dec. 24: Gurjit Rathore was killed in Virginia when the airbag in a 2001 Accord explodes after a minor accident, severing arteries in her neck. Her family sued Honda and Takata for more than $75 million in April 2011, claiming they knew of the airbag problems as early as 2004. Honda and Takata settle in January 2013 for $3 million.
Feb. 9: Honda expanded the earlier recalls
April 27: Honda recalled 896,000 Honda and Acura 2001-03 cars in order to find defective Takata airbag inflators installed as replacement parts.
Dec. 1: Honda again expanded the recalls.
April 11: Toyota Motor, Honda, Nissan Motor and Mazda Motor recalled 3.4 million vehicles globally due to potentially defective Takata airbags.
April 18: Takata to book extraordinary loss of $307 million for year to March 2013 for recall-related costs.
May 7: BMW joins the recalls.
May 10: Takata posted a record $212.5 million annual net loss, and named Swiss national Stefan Stocker as president, the first foreigner in the post.
Sept. 3: Devin Xu died in a 2002 Acura TL sedan in a parking lot accident near Los Angeles from “apparent facial trauma due to foreign object inside air bag,” according to a coroner’s report.
June 11: Toyota expanded prior recall to 2.27 million vehicles globally. NHTSA opened probe, examining whether driving in high humidity regions contributes to the risk of Takata airbag explosions; Takata claims there is nothing to indicate any inflator safety defects.
June 23: Honda, Nissan and Mazda recalled 2.95 million vehicles, expanding April 2013 recall, bringing the total recalls to about 10.5 million vehicles over five years.
June 26: Takata CEO apologized to shareholders at AGM.
July 16: BMW recalled about 1.6 million cars worldwide.
July 18: Takata to book special loss of about 45 billion yen ($440 million) in April-June for recalls.
Oct. 2: Orlando woman Hien Thi Tran died four days after her 2001 Accord was in an accident in which the airbag exploded, shooting out shrapnel, according to a police report.
Oct. 21: Takata shares dropped 23 percent in Tokyo.
Oct. 22: NHTSA expanded the total number of U.S. vehicles recalled for Takata airbags to 7.8 million over the past 18 months.
Oct. 27: A first case seeking class-action status was filed in Florida, claiming Takata and automakers, including Honda and Toyota, concealed crucial information on airbags.
Nov. 6: Takata warned of larger full-year loss, and paid no interim dividend for first time since 2006.
Nov. 7: The New York Times reported Takata ordered technicians to destroy results of tests on some airbags after finding cracks in inflators. Democratic lawmakers called for criminal probe into Takata.
Nov. 10: Takata shares drop 17 percent to 5½-year low.
Nov. 13: Honda said a woman – later identified as Law Suk Leh, 43 – died in Malaysia in July after being hit by shrapnel from a Takata airbag in her Honda City – the first such fatality outside the U.S.; Takata said it has modified the composition of its airbag propellant; Honda widened the recalls; taking its total alone to nearly 10 million.
Nov. 20: U.S. Senate hearing held into Takata airbag crisis.
Dec. 4: At U.S. Senate hearing, Takata said it was unable to find “root cause” of airbag ruptures.
Dec. 11: Honda, Nissan added to recalls in Japan.
Dec. 16: Honda recalled around 570,000 cars in China over Takata airbags
Dec. 17: Mark Rosekind confirmed as new head of NHTSA.
Dec. 24: Stocker stepped down as Takata president.
Jan. 29: Honda said 35-year-old Carlos Solis was killed in Houston in a 2002 Accord fitted with a Takata airbag that may have ruptured.
Feb. 11: Takata to double output of replacement airbag inflators by September.
Feb. 20: U.S. regulators imposed a daily fine of $14,000 on Takata for failing to fully cooperate with airbag probe.
March 23: Honda hired U.S. engineering consultancy “Exponent” to investigate the Takata airbag faults.
May 8: Takata said it expects to return to profit in 2015-2016.
May 13: Toyota said it will recall 5 million cars globally, including Corolla and Vitz models from 2003-07; Nissan to recall 1.56 million cars, taking overall global recalls to more than 31 million in eight years.
May 20: A massive recall was announced bringing the total airbag recalls to 34 million cars.
We have not included in the time-line all of the 2015 events that involved Takata and the air bag problem. For example, a number of automakers added cars to the recall numbers during the last few weeks. We will mention a few of the more recent events next month. This story is far from over.
Source: Automobile News