Maker Of Airbags At Center Of Scandal Knew About Flaw In 2004

In a huge blow for embattled airbag manufacturer Takata, a new report from former employees reveals the company knew about the problems with its devices for a decade.

Former employees told The New York Times this week that Takata knew of a potential problem back in 2004, when it investigated an airbag deployment in a 2002 Honda Accord in Alabama, where metal debris was spewed onto the driver. Researchers found 50 airbags in junkyards and found similar instances where the metal inflators did not perform correctly.

But The New York Times found Takata executives ignored the engineers’ ideas for possible fixes and ordered the internal probe into the problem scrapped. However, in regulatory filings, the company says it did not know of any problem until November 2008.

One former employee spoke to the unsual nature of the testing and its subsequent shut-down:

“All the testing was hush-hush. Then one day, it was, ‘Pack it all up, shut the whole thing down.’ It was not standard procedure.”

The problem may stem from improper handling of parts on the manufacturing line, and Takata was too slow to correct the problem. There’s also indication the company couldn’t keep up with demand in the mid-2000s. However, the affected airbags are in more than 14 million vehicles.

The full list of affected vehicles has been posted by the NHTSA.

By Zac Estrada

List of Affected U.S. Vehicles

BMW: 627,615 total number of potentially affected vehicles2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

Chrysler: 371,309 total number of potentially affected vehicles2003 – 2008 Dodge Ram 15002005 – 2008 Dodge Ram 25002006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 35002006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 45002008 – Dodge Ram 55002005 – 2008 Dodge Durango2005 – 2008 Dodge Dakota2005 – 2008 Chrysler 3002007 – 2008 Chrysler Aspen

Ford: 58,669 total number of potentially affected vehicles2004 – Ranger2005 – 2006 GT2005 – 2007 Mustang

General Motors: undetermined total number of potentially affected vehicles2003 – 2005 Pontiac Vibe2005 – Saab 9-2X

Honda: 5,051,364 total number of potentially affected vehicles2001 – 2007 Honda Accord)2001 – 2002 Honda Accord2001 – 2005 Honda Civic2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V2003 – 2011 Honda Element2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot2006 – Honda Ridgeline2003 – 2006 Acura MDX2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL2005 – Acura RL

Mazda: 64,872 total number of potentially affected vehicles2003 – 2007 Mazda62006 – 2007 MazdaSpeed62004 – 2008 Mazda RX-82004 – 2005 MPV2004 – B-Series Truck

Mitsubishi: 11,985 total number of potentially affected vehicles2004 – 2005 Lancer2006 – 2007 Raider

Nissan: 694,626 total number of potentially affected vehicles2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima2001 – 2004 Nissan Pathfinder2002 – 2004 Nissan Sentra2001 – 2004 Infiniti I30/I352002 – 2003 Infiniti QX42003 – 2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45

Subaru: 17,516 total number of potentially affected vehicles2003 – 2005 Baja2003 – 2005 Legacy2003 – 2005 Outback2004 – 2005 Impreza

Toyota: 877,000 total number of potentially affected vehicles2002 – 2005 Lexus SC2002 – 2005 Toyota Corolla2003 – 2005 Toyota Corolla Matrix2002 – 2005 Toyota Sequoia2003 – 2005 Toyota Tundra

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