© 2024 KOSU
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Takata Pressured By Congress To Take Air Bag Recall Nationwide

AUDIE CORNISH: The company Takata can't explain why its air bags can rupture and send shards at drivers and it's still ignoring a government order to expand recall nationwide. That was the bottom line of a Congressional hearing today. Meanwhile, automakers whose cars have those air bags are under increasing pressure. Honda is the latest company to expand its recall.

NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.

SONARI GLINTON: To begin with, let's remember this piece of information - December is one of the most important shopping months in the car business and customers who are shopping are paying attention. Armed thusly, cut to a hearing of a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee lead by Lee Terry, a Republican from Nebraska.


CONGRESSMAN LEE TERRY: Safety recalls are often marked by tragedy. That's what brings it to our attention, but they are even more troubling when they - the very equipment being recalled is intended to save lives.

GLINTON: That's part of why this recall has stuck so intently in the news. Takata contends the problem is confined. Here's Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky questioning Takata's senior VP, Hiroshi Shimizu.


CONGRESSMAN JAN SCHAKOWSKY: So are you saying that it is only in high-humidity areas that this is a problem? That that is the root cause?


HIROSHI SHIMIZU: We considered it's a main contribution to the problem. It's high temperature and high humidity, absolute humidity, together with age of the product and probably may be in combination with malfunctioning issues.

GLINTON: Takata is defying the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA. NHTSA wants the recall to be national, the idea being partly that you may have bought a car in Florida and driven it there for years and then moved to Minnesota. Here's New Jersey Republican Leonard Lance questioning Shimizu.


CONGRESSMAN LEONARD LANCE: So you are dramatically and diametrically in opposition to the view of NHTSA. Is that accurate?

GLINTON: And after pausing to confer with his interpreter, Shimizu responded.


SHIMIZU: Yes that is correct. That is our statement.

GLINTON: While Takata isn't taking its recall nationwide, automakers like Honda and BMW are. Honda today announced today its expanding its recall nationwide. Unlike Takata, which is a supplier and has a dozen or so customers, car companies deal directly with millions of consumers, consumers who pay attention to the news.

Sonari Glinton, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sonari Glinton is a NPR Business Desk Correspondent based at our NPR West bureau. He covers the auto industry, consumer goods, and consumer behavior, as well as marketing and advertising for NPR and Planet Money.
KOSU is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.
Related Content