Takata & Honda Airbag Scandals & NHTSA Scandal
Obama Investigating NHTSA
“WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior Obama administration official says the “safety culture” of the federal agency that oversees auto recalls is being reviewed.
The agency has been criticized for not acting aggressively enough regarding recalls of millions of vehicles with defective air bags or faulty ignition switches.
The Obama official says a team is examining risk management and the safety posture in general at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.” See
And See October 2014 NHTSA Organization Chart attached.
Criminal Investigation SoughtOn Nov. 7, 2014 the NY Times reported:
“Three senators are calling for a criminal investigation of the airbag maker Takata after two former employees reported that it had carried out tests on airbags over a decade ago and found signs of defects, yet erased computer files containing data and threw away tested airbags.
“The Justice Department needs to get involved here and begin a criminal investigation,” Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, said in an interview. His comments came in response to an article in The New York Times on Friday that reported the employees’ disclosure….
The safety agency has been under pressure from lawmakers to order automakers to expand recent airbag recalls, some of which have been limited to regions with high humidity because Takata says moisture could play a role in the defect. But in the face of continued uncertainty over the cause of the ruptures, lawmakers have called for nationwide recalls.
In a partial response to those requests, Honda said on Thursday that it would now formally recall cars that the automaker had previously included in what it calls “safety improvement campaigns.” Chris Martin, a Honda spokesman, said that testing of some of the passenger airbag inflaters it had retrieved from dealers in areas with high humidity showed enough risks to warrant a formal recall.
Safety regulators have already referred to those campaigns as recalls, however, making Honda’s announcement largely moot. The automaker is still limiting the United States recall to 13 states and territories that it says “consistently experience high absolute humidity.”
Cars affected include certain model year 2001-6 Honda and Acura vehicles sold in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Saipan, Guam and American Samoa, according to Honda.”
Note: DC, MD, and VA are not yet included by Honda.
Grand Jury Investigation
Honda said Thursday it is expanding its Takata-related recalls after a driver in Malaysia died in an air bag-linked accident in July.
The latest Honda/Takata fatality brings to five the number of deaths possibly caused by faulty Takata bags. Honda says three definitely are linked, and is probing two others.
Takata confirmed in Tokyo Thursday that it is being investigated in the U.S. for possible criminal activities.
A federal grand jury in New York has subpoenaed Takata’s unit in the United States to produce documents on the air bag defects, a Tokyo-based Takata spokesman said.” See
“DETROIT — This past summer, Takata Corp. rehired a retired engineering executive to oversee its embattled quality-control operation — an executive who is now at the center of a fresh controversy involving the company’s disclosures about its defective airbags.
Al Bernat, Takata’s former vice president of engineering who retired in 2012, returned as a full-time employee in July and is now senior vice president of quality assurance.
“We brought him out of retirement,” company spokesman Alby Berman said this week, “although he was doing some consulting with us even in retirement.”
Bernat’s return came shortly after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced June 11 that it would reopen its investigation into malfunctioning airbags in vehicles produced by Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Chrysler and Toyota.” Seehttp://www.autonews.com/article/20141115/OEM11/311179950/rehired-exec-at-center-of-takata-storm