Recently unsealed documents from a personal injury case involving defective Takata airbags show emails where employees are joking with each other while manipulating safety data. In one email from 2006, a Takata engineer responsible for airbag tests wrote “Happy Manipulating!!!” to another employee.
Emails and memos between workers in America and Japan show a complete disregard for public safety. The same engineer responsible for the 2006 email had reached out to his superiors in Japan one year earlier questioning the falsified data. Takata officials overseas allegedly told the engineer: “this is the way we do business in Japan.” Officials for Takata have argued the emails and memos showing data manipulation are unrelated to the recalls, but actions from business partners and federal regulators tell another story.
Last year in November, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) fined Takata $70 million, partly because of data manipulation. The fine was the largest in the history of NHTSA. On the same day the fines were levied by NHTSA, Honda dropped Takata as its supplier of airbags over data manipulation.
Takata’s Deadly Legacy in the American Auto Industry
Eight Americans have died and more than 100 suffered catastrophic injuries from Takata’s defective airbags. These emails are incredibly disrespectful to those who have lost their lives or suffered life-changing injuries. The Takata emails also show no respect for family members affected by these horrible tragedies.
The most recent victim of Takata’s defective airbags was a 13-year-old boy who lost his life. His devastated family has these recently unsealed emails as an excuse for why their son is no longer alive. This is a perfect example of why we must hold negligent manufacturers accountable.