Takata Answers Questions About Faulty Airbags

RECALL-monitor-air-bag1After weeks of recalls, airbag manufacturer Takata was pressed to answer questions at a Senate Hearing. Senior Vice President of Quality Assurance Hiroshi Shimizu apologized

"Even though millions of Takata air bags have inflated properly, saving lives and avoiding serious injuries in hundreds of thousands of accidents, any failure of an air bag to perform as designed in an automobile accident is incompatible with Takata's standards for highest quality assurance. We are deeply sorry and anguished about each of the reported instances in which a Takata air bag has not performed as designed and a driver or passenger has suffered personal injuries or death. Our sincerest condolences go out to all those who have suffered in these accidents and to their families."

Shimizu took the brunt at one point from Senator Dean Heller of Nevada: "I think there was something amiss in your testimony and that was that nowhere does Takata say they take full responsibility. Does Takata take full responsibility for this tragic defect?" With an explanation about anomalies, Shimizu responded, "Yes."

The airbags have caused at least five deaths and many injuries, and the problem seems to be dragging on. It could take years for the recalled bags to be fixed, and the company hasn't yet found a solution.  

Discussion Starters: 

  • Assess the Senate Hearing questions and answers. What, if any, part do you think cultural differences play in the executive's responses?
  • Why isn't the CEO, Shigehisa Takada, responding to questions? 
  • What's the relationship between Takada (the CEO) and Takata (the company name)? (Hint: The explanation is similar for Toyota and its CEO.)