Takata airbag exec expresses regret over deaths and injuries

A senior executive of airbag maker Takata Corp. told a U.S. Congressional hearing this afternoon that the company 'deeply' regrets every rupture episode involving its defective airbags, especially those causing injury or death.

Exec reveals that Takata is still making inflators with a volatile chemical compound

Kevin Kennedy, Takata Corp.'s executive vice president of North America, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, on June 2, 2015. Faulty inflators inside Takata's air bags are being blamed for six deaths and over 100 injuries worldwide. (Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press)

A senior executive of airbag maker Takata Corp. told a U.S. Congressional hearing this afternoon that the company 'deeply' regrets every incident involving its defective airbags, especially those causing injury or death. 

"It is unacceptable to us for even one of our products to fail to perform as intended," said Kevin Kennedy, executive vice president of Takata subsidiary TK Holdings. "We deeply regret each instance in which someone has been injured or killed."

Takata Corp. has supplied more than four million replacement air bag inflators, some of which will have to be replaced again, he told U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday.

Kennedy told a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee hearing that half of the air bag replacement parts that Takata provided last month to automakers were made by other suppliers with a different chemical compound.
Takata is recalling roughly 34 million cars for airbags that might be defective. (Mihai Barbu/Reuters)

Kennedy said Takata is still making inflators with a volatile chemical compound, ammonium nitrate, which he said has been identified as one of the factors in ruptured air bag inflators. He said Takata last year began making an "alternate" propellant from guanidine nitrate, and that it will "rapidly" reduce production of inflators made with ammonium nitrate.

Kennedy said that by the end of the year, about 70 per cent of replacement inflators for defective Takata air bags will be made by competitors TRW Automotive and Autoliv Inc., which use guanidine nitrate as the chief ingredient in their inflator propellant.

The airbag inflator defect has been linked to at least six deaths and more than 100 injuries.

Takata has declared 33.8 million airbags defective in an agreement with U.S. regulators. It's the biggest auto-safety recall in U.S. history.

Several million vehicles in Canada have also been recalled, including 700,000 by Honda Canada.

With files from The Associated Press

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