Takata could soon be in the spotlight of the automotive world once again.
However, this time around, it won’t be because of their faulty and potentially deadly airbags which caused one of the biggest automotive recalls in the world. Instead, the company could be under fire for supposedly producing sub-standard seat belts. No, we’re not talking about their popular green racing harnesses, but the three-point seat belts that they supplied to automakers around the world.
US automotive supplier Joyson Safety System (JSS), which took control of Takata following its bankruptcy in April 2018, is currently investigating reports regarding the safety and strength of seat belts supplied to automobile manufacturers. Specifically, JSS is investigating inaccuracies in the reporting of seat belt webbing test data at the company’s Hikone, Japan webbing manufacturing facility.
“JSS is currently reviewing available and relevant data over a twenty-year period on a test-by-test and product-by-product basis, which is a substantial undertaking. The investigation is ongoing and JSS is focused on clarifying the issues with urgency to identify the causes and take appropriate corrective measures. Thus far, JSS has not identified any related field issues during the timeframe under investigation,” said JSS in a statement.
So far, the investigation regarding the potentially faulty Takata seat belts is still on-going. However, JSS says that they have already informed OEM customers that may have purchased products that include webbing produced at the Hikone facility. At the same time, they have also informed relevant regulators regarding the issue.
According to Reuters, the Japanese transport ministry has already told automakers to prepare for a potential recall of vehicles with the Takata seat belts involved. At the moment, the ministry is also investigating how many vehicles were fitted with the seat belt in Japan, and if any were shipped outside the country.
If a recall over the Takata seat belts is made, it will no doubt affect a lot of cars, potentially even more than the deadly airbags. For reference, the deadly airbag inflator caused millions of vehicles to be recalled globally, including the Philippines.
For now, there's no need to panic. You can continue to drive your vehicles for the time being. Automakers will make an announcement once the investigation is complete.