Markey & Blumenthal Call On Takata To Prioritize Consumer Safety Ahead Of Bankruptcy
[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) released the following statement today in response to reports that Takata is preparing to file for bankruptcy as early as next week:
“Takata should not file for bankruptcy until it is sure it has a firm restructuring deal in place that prioritizes the safety of consumers and guarantees that the production of replacement airbag inflators will not be interrupted,” Blumenthal and Markey said. “With two out of three vehicles with defective Takata airbags still not repaired, our chief concern is making sure there is no further delay for consumers awaiting replacement air bag inflators.”
In October, the Senators sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) expressing concern about news reports that Takata is soliciting new investors or contemplating bankruptcy or other major restructuring that could undermine its consent decree and consumers could be left with defective airbags that no one will be forced to fix remain.
Blumenthal and Markey first expressed concerns with NHTSA’s limited recalls and testing of Takata airbags in October 2014. They have also called on Takata to recall all vehicles with ammonium nitrate-based airbags, and expressed serious concern about the pace of Takata recalls and repairs. Blumenthal also called on Takata to establish a victim’s compensation fund during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing in June 2015. In response to Blumenthal’s request, the company refused.
Last year, the Senators also sent a letter urging President Obama to recall every vehicle with airbags using ammonium nitrate as their propellant, and to use “every tool at his disposal” to accelerate the repair of all vehicles with potentially-lethal Takata airbags. In January, Blumenthal and Markey called on the Department of Justice to pursue stiff punishment against individual executives in a final criminal settlement with Takata.