Shigehisa Takada (above), president of Takata Corporation, fronted a press conference for the first time since the airbag scandal took off and officially apologised on behalf of his company and its defective airbags.
According to a translation supplied by CNBC, Takada told a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, today: “I want to first offer my heartfelt condolences for those who have lost their lives because of our damaged inflators. I also want to again apologise for the worry this may have caused everyone.”
When asked why he had taken so long to speak publicly about the issue, Takada reportedly said: “I had been in discussions with automakers and regulatory authorities. In doing so I realised how I missed several opportunities to speak and for that I apologise.”
The company’s defective airbags are reportedly involved in the deaths of eight people and over a hundred injuries. At least 53 million cars have been recalled worldwide to fix faulty inflators that detonate with too much force and can cause shrapnel to be sent shooting at passengers.
Takata is still investigating the root cause of its potentially deadly airbags.
The company refuted a popular theory that its use of ammonium nitrate as a propellant is part of the problem. The New York Times quotes Takada as saying: “We have been working with ammonium nitrate for more than 10 years, and have tested it in a variety of ways. As far as I’m concerned, it is safe and reliable.”
Takata is using ammonium nitrate in its replacement inflators. Other airbag manufacturers reportedly do not use ammonium nitrate due to concerns about the compound’s instability.
To find out more about Takata airbag recall, including affected Australian vehicles and a detailed run through of the problem, check out our feature on the Takata airbag recall in Australia.
Cover image: Screen capture from CNBC.