Employees at Takata, the world’s largest supplier of airbags, spoke to the New York Times recently about a cover-up of defective airbags by the company. The Times reports that after an airbag ruptured and spewed metal debris at an Alabama driver in 2004, the company secretly began conducting tests on the bags. The steel inflaters in two of the airbags cracked during the tests – a potential condition for rupture – and engineers began designing fixes in preparation for a recall. Executives at the company, however, did not recall the products. Instead, they ordered the tests deleted and evidence trashed.
This was four years before Takata said that it found any problems in its airbags, which led to a recall in 2008. Four deaths and 139 injuries have been caused by Takata airbags. The most recent recorded death was last year in Los Angeles.
Employees at the company have said the airbags were potentially damaged during transportation mishaps. Camera footage shows forklifts dropping stack of the bags and former quality-control managers at the company say they were not then inspected for damage.
Why did Takata cover up this known flaw, rather than recall its products? The answer is simple: They placed profits over people.
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