You may have heard that Takata Americas has filed for Chapter 11 (bankruptcy protection) on Sunday with liabilities of $10 billion to $50 billion, while the Japanese parent and subsidiaries filed for protection with the Tokyo District Court early on Monday. This is a direct result of malfunctioning airbags resulting in, in some US cases, death.
Earlier this year, Tokyo-based Takata Corporation, one of the world’s largest suppliers of automotive safety-related equipment, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and was sentenced to pay a total of $1 billion in criminal penalties stemming from the company’s conduct in relation to sales of defective airbag inflators.
“According to admissions made during the course of the guilty plea, from 2000 through and including 2015, Takata carried out a scheme to defraud its customers and auto manufacturers by providing false and manipulated airbag inflator test data that made the performance of the company’s airbag inflators appear better than it actually was,” reads a US Department of Justice document. “Even after the inflators began to experience repeated problems in the field – including ruptures causing injuries and deaths – Takata executives continued to withhold the true and accurate inflator test information and data from their customers.”
On their website, Transport Canada says that they have “not received any complaints from Canadians alleging abnormal deployment of airbags supplied by Takata and is not aware of any related incidents in Canada. Auto manufacturers have also confirmed that no abnormal deployments of airbags supplied by Takata have occurred in Canada.”
They note that “in Canada, vehicle manufacturers are responsible for carrying out notice of defect (recall) campaigns, not parts suppliers, such as Takata. All vehicles currently affected by a recall or safety improvement campaign involving Takata airbag inflators are listed in Transport Canada’s motor vehicle recalls database. Several auto manufacturers have announced expansions of recalls in Canada relating to Takata airbags in May 2015.”
To find out if your car is affected, visit Transport Canada’s Motor Vehicle Safety Recalls Database. Or, contact the local dealer with your vehicle identification number (VIN) and ask about any recalls relating to your vehicle. The easiest way to view your VIN is to stand outside the vehicle on the driver’s side and look at the corner of the dashboard where it meets the windshield. If the VIN cannot be found there, open the driver’s side door and look at the door post (where the door latches when it is closed).