Takata redesigning airbag inflators after deaths

FRENCH PRESS AGENCY - AFP
WASHINGTON
Published 02.06.2015 22:24

Japan's Takata said it would redesign some driver-side airbag inflators, in the latest chapter of a global auto parts scandal linked to six deaths and the recall of millions of vehicles. In prepared testimony delivered to the U.S. Congress yesterday, Kevin Kennedy, executive vice president at Takata's American arm, TK Holdings, said the company is pushing ahead to replace faulty airbag inflators after U.S. auto safety regulators ordered the recall of nearly 34 million vehicles. Six deaths have been tied to shrapnel from the explosive airbags. Kennedy said "most" injuries and all the fatalities have involved an older version of its driver airbag inflator and that the firm was working on replacing the part. Takata has acknowledged that high humidity can affect the chemical agent "in certain circumstances," which can result in airbags deploying with excessive explosive force - sending dangerous shrapnel into people the airbags are intended to protect. It added that other factors, including manufacturing, could also be involved. Last month, Takata admitted for the first time that its airbags installed in the cars of 11 major automakers worldwide are defective. Recalls will focus first on cars in Hawaii and southern states where the climate could be exacerbating the problem.

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