Two former employees of Japanese auto parts manufacturer Takata Corporation are asserting claims that the company knew about its defective airbags a decade ago.
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The pair allege that in 2004, Takata Corp. employed the help of certain workers to retrieve 50 discarded airbags from area scrapyards and conduct secret tests on their components. The tests were prompted by early complaints that the airbags ruptured during deployment, violently spraying the interior of the vehicle with shards of metal and other debris.
Shockingly, the two employees, who remain anonymous due to current ties with Takata Corp., explained that two of the 50 airbags failed tests, and company engineers immediately began redesigns and fixes for the faulty inflators in anticipation of a recall. Frighteningly, it would be four years until Takata first alerted federal regulators to any such problem.
The workers say evidence was deleted from computers and that the project ended abruptly. The events allegedly took place at Takata’s U.S. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich.
For Takata Corp., the legal implications are far reaching. If the allegations are proven, Takata could be liable for more than four deaths and 100 injuries associated with their airbags.