Since 2008, more than 10 automakers have recalled more than 20 million vehicles in the United States to replace airbags made by Japanese major auto parts supplier Takata. At issue are potentially defective airbags, which could explode and send metal pieces flying at great force - thus injuring or even killing car occupants.
To date, the deaths of 10 people worldwide have been linked to Takata airbag inflator ruptures. The cause for these explosions has been under investigation. Contributing factors, such as quality control in manufacturing the airbags, are also under investigation, including by the Independent Takata Quality Assurance Panel (the Panel).
The Panel has concluded a thorough and informative review and assessment of Takata’s current policies, practices, procedures, structure and personnel to ensure that, going forward, Takata is fully and promptly responsive to the traveling public, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), other regulators and original equipment manufacturers whenever questions are raised about the quality or safety of Takata airbags.
The Panel consists of seven leading experts, who brought different perspectives to the group - from transportation safety to manufacturing, quality assurance, engineering, Japanese business, and government regulation. The Panel is led by former Secretary of Transportation and White House Chief of Staff Samuel Skinner, who was appointed on Dec. 18, 2014, by Takata Corporation.
From January 2015 to January 2016, the Panel reviewed and assessed Takata’s current policies, practices, procedures, structure and personnel to ensure that the company achieves best practices for:
- Expeditious, accurate and thorough internal and external reporting of questions or concerns about the quality or safety of Takata airbags
- Development and implementation of action plans to fully, promptly and conscientiously resolve any such questions or concerns
- Integration of quality and safety principles at every step in Takata’s supply, manufacturing and delivery channels
- Global coordination of all aspects of Takata’s management of airbag quality and safety issues
Each member of the Panel has specific expertise and experience in disciplines that are critical to the Panel’s mandate, ensuring a diverse membership that brings 360-degree expertise in business and regulatory processes devoted to quality and safety in the transportation field. The members of the Panel are listed below in alphabetical order. Biographies and headshots are available here.
- Marion C. Blakey
- Nelda J. Connors
- John C. Landgraf
- Dr. Julio M. Ottino
- Dr. Jeffrey Runge
- Samuel K. Skinner
- John W. Snow
The Panel had complete access to the information it needed to fulfill its mandate in a thorough and independent fashion, including Takata’s current safety, quality, design, and manufacturing policies, practices, procedures, structure, and personnel.
The Panel’s report contains the Panel’s findings and recommendations.