Takata, the Japense auto supplier has been under fire for a quite a few months now. Back in June, the company recalled approximately 900,000 vehicles from nine different automakers because of faulty airbags. At that time, Takata recalled these vehicles in only Florida and Hawaii, as well as the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Then, Honda expanded the faulty airbag recall to add another 2.4 million vehicles. During this expansion, vehicles were recalled from Georgia, California, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Alabama, and Louisiana. To date, 7.8 million vehicles in the United States have been recalled with the threat of an exploding airbag.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that more than 50 models of vehicles from Honda, Toyota, Mazda Nissan, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mitsubishi, Subaru, and Chrysler that were made between 2000 and 2011 would need to be recalled. Thus far, Bloomberg reports that 4 deaths have been connected to these faulty airbags. For Florida drivers this is a pressing issue, as the faulty airbags seems to be acting up more frequently in humid, hot regions of the country. The NHTSA is now informing motorists of these affected vehicles to “take immediate action”.
Now, automakers are coming under fire as they scramble to handle this massive problem. Toyota’s spokeswoman took to the press last Wednesday to defend Toyota’s current airbag policy, “If a replacement part is temporarily unavailable at the time of repair, we view disabling the front passenger airbag as a temporary measure that prioritizes customer safety. We also advise that customers not occupy the front passenger seat until the replacement inflator is installed and the airbag is fully functional. To date, we have seen increasing supplies of replacement inflators and continue to work with Takata to expedite delivery of Toyota part allocations”.
While senators have suggested that loaners be made available to all of those affected, this has yet to happen in any vehicle company. Would you be nervous to be driving around a vehicle with a deactivated airbag? What do you think automakers should be doing to correct this issue? Share your opinions in the comment box.