Inside Takata, tantrums, but little sense of crisis over air bags
By Norihiko Shirouzu
TOKYO (Reuters) - Shigehisa Takada, the third-generation head of Takata Corp, shows little sense of the crisis engulfing the Japanese air bag maker at the center of one of the auto industry's biggest safety recalls, according to three people who have met him recently.
Just days before a Nov. 21 U.S. congressional hearing on defective Takata air bags that have been linked to at least five deaths, Takada told business associates he was personally dealing with the quality issues, and his company had identified and fixed the main cause of the defect - which he said was mainly a flawed manufacturing process, the people said.
He told them that Takata had significantly improved its air bag propellant chemistry for bags it is using to replace defective ones, and the company now just has to step up and replace all suspect air bags as quickly as possible.
"He acts like this recall is going to blow by in due time and harbors little sense of crisis," said one of the associates, none of whom wanted to be named given the sensitive nature of their comments.
More than 16 million vehicles have been recalled worldwide since 2008 over Takata's air bag inflators, which can explode with too much force and spray metal fragments into the car.
Takata's handling of the massive safety recall has frustrated U.S. politicians and regulators and has confused drivers as to whether their cars need fixing or not. Continued...