According to a recent article in the New York Times, back in the late 1990’s automakers were excited by a new cheaper airbag. Manufactured by a little-known company from Japan called Takata, this cheaper design would lead to multiple deaths and a massive recall.
In the quest to save a few dollars per airbag, General Motors went to its current supplier to see if they could match the price of the new option. Scientists at Autoliv, the original producer of airbags for General Motors, determined that the new airbags were dangerous because they used ammonium nitrate as a propellant. The ammonium nitrate was too explosive and was strong enough to blow the inflators to bits upon detonation.
General Motors and several other car companies decided not to heed the warnings of Autoliv engineers, and installed Takata air bags in some of their vehicles. There has been evidence that Takata manipulated tests to show the airbag inflators were safer than they actually were in high humidity, high temperature settings.
At least 14 people have been killed and many others injured by accidents involving defective Takata airbags.
The Takata shows how companies can act in ways that are potentially harmful to its own customers. In the quest to keep costs down and increase profits, it can be easy to only look at the evidence that supports the decision that is most profitable. Add manipulative into the mix and you have the recipe for a potential tragedy.
If you feel you have been injured in a car accident due to a defective component, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to review the details of your case.