The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Takata V.P. to Testify at House Hearing Today

December 03, 2014

A House subcommittee hearing on the Takata air bag ruptures and recalls, scheduled for 10 a.m. EST on Dec. 3, is set to include testimony from Hiroshi Shimizu, Takata’s senior vice president for global quality assurance.

The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade will also hear testimony from executives with Honda North America, Toyota, BMW of North America and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

To view video of the hearing, click here. 

On Nov. 20, Shimizu testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and some of his indirect or vague responses to questions clearly frustrated committee members.

On Nov. 24, Senators John D. Rockefeller and Bill Nelson, members of the committee, sent a letter to Takata Corp. CEO Shigehisa Takada, criticizing Shimizu’s answers to questions and requesting information and documents related to the defective air bags. The committee set a Dec. 12 deadline for delivery of the materials.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Shimizu was unable to satisfactorily answer many of the questions posed to him by Senator Nelson and other Members of the Commerce Committee,” the letter states. “Specifically, Mr. Shimizu was unable to provide information regarding the chemical compounds used in Takata’s airbags, and whether Takata personnel or internal testing raised concern about the safety of those compounds, as has been widely reported in the news media. In addition, Mr. Shimizu was unable to sufficiently answer many questions about the current production and safety testing of replacement airbags for vehicles currently covered by recalls or safety improvement campaigns.”

To download the letter to Takata, click here.

Committee Chairman Rockefeller and Nelson, who chaired the hearing, also sent a letter to Honda North America President Takuji Yamada to request copies of communications between Honda and Takata as well as other documents related to the defective Takata air bags. The senators set a Dec. 19 deadline for the items.

Rick Schostek, executive vice president of Honda North America, testified at the Senate subcommittee hearing Nov. 20.

To download the letter to Honda, click here.

Meanwhile, Honda on Dec. 2 released a statement calling for “coordinated, industry-wide, third-party testing of Takata airbag inflators.” Such testing could help ensure that all of the inflators that require replacement are accurately identified and fixed as quickly as possible, Honda said.

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