Hiroshi Shimizu, Takata Corp.'s senior vice president for global quality assurance, testifies during a hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee today on Capitol Hill. The committee held the hearing to investigae Takata's airbag defects. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Takata Exec Defends Company's Actions Over Faulty Airbags

Nov. 20, 2014
A Takata Corp. executive defends the company's actions before a Senate panel investigating an airbag fault tied to several deaths and hundreds of injuries.

WASHINGTON — A Takata Corp. (IW 1000/904) senior executive defended the embattled Japanese auto parts company's actions Thursday before a US Senate panel investigating an airbag fault tied to several deaths and hundreds of injuries.

Hiroshi Shimizu, Takata's senior vice president for global quality assurance, said his company took responsibility for three US deaths related to what he labeled "anomalies" in its airbags.

But he did not expand that acceptance of responsibility to a broader series of airbags installed for a decade in millions of cars from 10 major manufacturers. And he did not agree with a call earlier this week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a full nationwide recall of cars with the suspect Takata airbags.

"My accident involved a moderate frontal impact," Stephanie Erdman said. "The headlights on the front of the vehicle weren't broken. My passenger had mild scrapes and bruises. I should not been injured the way I was."

US automakers and Takata continue to resist making a sweeping nationwide recall of cars at risk, after having limited recalls so far this year to a few southern states where heat and humidity could raise the chances of a dangerous airbag deployment.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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