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Served: Takata Receives Subpoena Over Faulty Airbags

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 11/13/2014 Karla Sanchez
Served: Takata Receives Subpoena Over Faulty Airbags

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has issued a subpoena demanding Takata's U.S. unit produce documents related to the air bag flaw that has resulted in millions of recalls. Although Takata has been embroiled in a U.S. criminal investigation over potentially defective airbags, this is the first we're hearing that a seated grand jury demands evidence.

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In addition to the subpoena, Takata executives could also be asked to testify at a U.S. Senate committee hearing next week. Scheduled for Thursday, the hearing could be held before the full Senate rather than a subcommittee, reports Reuters. Court documents and other evidence has also been requested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has given the Japanese auto-parts supplier until December 1 to comply. image-10469045© Provided by MotorTrend image-10469045

Takata has been cooperative with the probe so far, as it has already met with financial analysts to disclose details. Reuters reports that the airbag company revealed to the analysts that it isn't thinking about adding production lines to make replacement air bag inflators.

Still, the company is trying to save face, especially after The New York Times reported that Takata engineers tested airbags in 2004 and discovered the possibility they could rupture and send deadly shrapnel toward drivers. The Times reported that engineers were told to discard and erase the test data -- and Takata didn't first issue a recall for some defective airbags until 2008. At least 139 people have been injured as a result of shrapnel thrown from faulty Takata airbags. 2002-honda-odyssey-rear-three-quarter© Provided by MotorTrend 2002-honda-odyssey-rear-three-quarter

Recalls began several years ago after the company discovered that the front passenger side airbag could rupture and spray shrapnel when deployed, increasing the risk of injury. Takata initially said the problem was caused by propellant being exposed to moisture and that humid weather could also be a contributing factor. Five deaths have been linked to the defective air bags, with the most recent occurring outside of the U.S. in Malaysia. All five deaths have been in cars produced by Honda, which just recently expanded its recall by another 170,000 vehicles globally, totaling nearly 10 million.

Since 2008, more than 17 million cars equipped with Takata airbags have been recalled, with more than 11 million of those cars in the U.S.

Source: Reuters

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