Toyota, Honda Push for Independent, Industry-Wide Takata Inflator Tests | Edmunds

Toyota, Honda Push for Independent, Industry-Wide Takata Inflator Tests

TORRANCE, California Toyota and Honda on Tuesday separately called for an industry-wide joint initiative to independently test Takata airbag inflators to address growing consumer concerns about safety.

"The safety, security and peace of mind for our customers are our highest priority, and I believe this is shared with all the other automakers," said Simon Nagata, president and CEO, Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, said in a statement.

He added: "By combining our collective efforts behind a coordinated, comprehensive testing program, we believe we can achieve greater results."

The potentially defective Takata airbags are at the center of recalls of approximately 8 million vehicles by 10 automakers. The airbag inflators can explode with deadly force, spewing shrapnel at passengers.

Honda urged other automakers to join a comprehensive testing initiative with third-party testing of Takata airbag inflators.

The goal, it said, is to ensure "that all of the inflators that require replacement are accurately identified and fixed as quickly as possible."

"We believe that the industry can achieve greater results by sharing information and putting its collective efforts behind the same objective third-party testing program," said Rick Schostek, executive vice president of Honda North America, in a statement.

In the meantime, Takata CEO Shigehisa Takada issued a statement setting out a series of steps for dealing with the recall crisis.

They include forming an independent quality assurance panel to audit and prepare an independent report "regarding our current manufacturing procedures for best practices in the production of safe inflators."

The panel will be chaired by former White House Chief of Staff and Transportation Department Secretary Samuel K. Skinner. The report will be made public.

Takata also said it will take "dramatic actions to increase our capacity to produce replacement kits to meet the demands of the evolving recalls."

Edmunds says: Independent testing should help automakers understand how best to implement recall repairs in this case and reassure anxious consumers.

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