Nearly 17 million vehicles worldwide have been affected by a recall on airbags produced by Japanese auto parts supplier Takata. This recall spreads across more than a dozen car manufacturers from model year 2002 to 2008. The defective airbags have been found to deploy improperly, injuring and even killing occupants. There have been at least 140 injuries and five deaths, some horribly gruesome, as a result of the faulty air bags.
In 2002, a Takata plant in Mexico was alleged to have allowed 6 to 8 times the acceptable limits of failure rates in airbag production. Then The New York Times wrote a story exposing the company for attempting to cover up the evidence of such failures, despite the fact that they discovered them back in 2004. It wasn’t until four years later that the company acknowledged any fault.
The United States Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommended a nationwide recall in November to fix the issue. Takata later would become subject to daily fines for failure to cooperate with the developing federal investigation that was encouraged by two U.S. Senators. As part of the investigation, Takata vice president Hiroshi Shimizu listed the possible reasons for the ruptured inflators as: the age of the airbags, exposure to high temperatures and humidity, and issues with production.