Honda Quietly Requested New Takata Airbag Design in 2009
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Apr 08, 2016 in Product Liability
Newly released internal memos and presentations reveal that in August 2009, after ruptured airbags were linked to a fatality and four injuries, Honda quietly asked for a “fail safe” design change to Takata’s airbag inflator.
The news is significant because it reveals that the automaker and Takata were aware of the defects and safety issues associated with the manufacturer’s airbag inflators. Furthermore, Honda did not report the issue to U.S. regulators as is required by law.
Honda has alleged that the company did not have to inform regulators because it had identified an error in the manufacturing process, not a defect in the product itself.
Takata issued a statement confirming it had deployed and tested newer versions of the redesigned airbag inflators for an automaker, but did not provide any further information. Takata installed vents to the newly modified airbag inflators that redirected explosions away from a driver’s upper body and neck.
The news could prove influential in pending lawsuits filed against the company alleging that the defective inflators caused serious injuries and deaths.
Honda and Takata Lawsuits
Nearly 8.5 million vehicles were affected by the largest automotive recall in U.S. history, which began in late 2014.
Since then, 100 lawsuits have been combined in federal court in Miami where hearings should begin in 2017. The news that both Takata and Honda were aware of the defect could make the companies more vulnerable in court.
Takata airbags have been linked to eight fatalities and 90 injuries in the United States, according the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Metal shrapnel can become airborne when airbags deploy, causing severe, or even fatal, injuries.
If you have been hurt due to a defective product, speak to skilled product liability attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan.