Worker Emails Show Manipulation in Takata Airbag Defect

January 11, 2016

Employee Emails Show Blatant Data Manipulation in Takata Airbag Defect

The New York Times recently published emails from inside Takata that show data manipulation over its defective airbags. Takata’s defective airbags have been linked to eight deaths and more than 100 catastrophic injuries in the U.S. The defect causes airbags to shoot shrapnel at motorists after deploying.

As it turns out, Takata engineers in Japan and the United States were openly discussing how to manipulate airbag testing data. In a 2006 email discussing the data, a Takata engineer wrote to a colleague, “Happy Manipulating!!!”. Another email from the same engineer said, “Hey, I manipulated.” The emails were acquired as part of a personal injury lawsuit filed against Takata.

Memos acquired as part of the personal injury lawsuit also show a disregard for safety. The same engineer responsible for the careless “Happy Manipulating!!!” email also claimed he was told by colleagues overseas that data manipulation is “the way we do business in Japan.”

In addition to scandalous emails, Takata was fined $70 million by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), partially for misrepresenting and manipulating airbag test data. Honda dropped Takata as an airbag supplier on the same day NHTSA levied its fines.

Why Emails Over Defective Takata Airbags Are Disrespectful to Victims

These emails and memos show a disregard for public safety and are highly disrespectful considering the circumstances of victims. The most recent victim of Takata’s airbags was not even old enough to drive. A 13-year-old boy is now dead, taken from his family because “this is the way we do business in Japan.” This is not how we do business in the United States, and companies that are caught putting profits over public safety will be held accountable.

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