Pace of Takata Airbag Recall Repairs Increasing

Three automakers have expanded their Takata passenger inflator recalls to include more model years or additional vehicles and/or inflators from model years affected by existing recalls, according to the NHTSA announcement, which said the expansions resulted from Takata's ballistic testing conducted in recent months.

The pace of recall completion for vehicles equipped with defective Takata airbags is "accelerating rapidly," the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Dec. 23, reporting that during the two-week period ending Dec. 4, just more than 950,000 vehicles were repaired and, to help oversee future progress, NHTSA selected John D. Buretta, a partner at the law firm Cravath, Swain & Moore, to serve as the Takata monitor. He will help NHTSA by providing oversight of both the coordinated remedy program and of Takata's compliance with consent orders.

"NHTSA has selected John D. Buretta, partner of the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore and former principal deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice Criminal Division, to serve as independent monitor in the Takata recalls. Mr. Buretta was selected from a group of outstanding applicants, and he and his team bring tremendous experience in complex corporate investigations. They will play a significant role in helping oversee Takata's compliance with its obligations under NHTSA enforcement orders and in implementing the Coordinated Remedy Program to accelerate and prioritize the largest, most complex consumer safety effort in U.S. history," said Mark Rosekind, NHTSA's administrator.

Three automakers have expanded their Takata passenger inflator recalls to include more model years or additional vehicles and/or inflators from model years affected by existing recalls, according to the announcement, which said the expansions resulted from Takata's ballistic testing conducted in recent months.

NHTSA also announced the eighth U.S. fatality "likely caused by a rupture of a Takata air bag inflator, and the ninth worldwide," reporting that, "although yet to be confirmed by the manufacturer, the incident involved a model year 2001 vehicle that spent most of it service life in the high absolute humidity (HAH) region and had been under recall for many years. The fatality was the result of a driver air bag rupture, as has been the case for all known fatalities."

Vehicles affected by revised passenger recalls are the 2005-2008 Mazda Mazda6, 2002-2004 Honda CR-V, and 2005-2008 Subaru Legacy and Outback. An updated list of makes, models, and model years affected by the recalls is available at www.safercar.gov/rs/takata/takatalist.html.

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