With a recall affecting approximately 7.8 million cars spread across 10 brands of vehicles manufactured between 2002 and 2008, safety equipment manufacturer Takata has released an open letter to the public, signed by its chairman and chief executive Shigehisa Takada. In it, Takada explained what steps his company has taken to address the issue and for it to “regain the full confidence of the public.”
Here is the letter in full:
To our Customers and the Driving Public,
Since its founding, Takata’s number one priority has been the safety of the traveling public. Our airbags have deployed safely in more than two million auto accidents around the world since we began producing them in 1987, saving many thousands of lives. In 2014 alone, thousands of serious injuries and deaths have been prevented worldwide by Takata airbags.
Today, we are as focused on our mission as ever. Even one failure is unacceptable, and we are truly and deeply saddened that five fatalities have been attributed to auto accidents where Takata airbags malfunctioned. We understand the public’s concerns and we take them seriously.
There should be no mistaking Takata’s position on the recently announced expanded safety campaigns and recalls. Takata will work with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the automakers to increase the production capacity for replacement airbags to support all safety campaigns or further recalls announced by the automakers. We are building on existing efforts, led by our most senior engineers, to address any and all safety issues--but we recognize more must be done, now.
In addition to adding production capacity to meet demand, we are working with our customers and other airbag producers to produce more replacement units. We are actively exploring whether other producers’ current airbags can be used in replacement kits.
We are dramatically increasing the testing and analysis of inflators retrieved from the safety campaigns to inform our understanding of the problem and to help chart the best strategy for addressing it. We are tripling our own capacity for testing, and fully support efforts by the automakers and NHTSA to do additional testing and analysis of returned inflators.
We also have convened an independent Quality Assurance Panel, led by former Secretary of the US Department of Transportation Samuel K. Skinner, which will review our current manufacturing procedures for best practices in the production of safe inflators. Upon completion, the panel’s report will be made public.
In tackling all these challenges, Takata will work in unison with automakers to advance our common goal of putting the safety of consumers first. I am personally committed to do what is necessary for Takata to regain the full confidence of the public and our customers.
Chairman and CEO