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Takata Airbags: Safety or Hazard?

Info: 6888 words (28 pages) Dissertation
Published: 11th Dec 2019

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Tagged: EngineeringHealth and Safety


Takata is a Japanese based airbag systems supplier company (Helmold et al., 2017). An airbag is a safety device in vehicles which consists of a fabric cushion which opens up immediately when a collision occurs. Its purpose is to prevent the vehicle occupant from sustaining serious injuries. The company’s airbags are of high-performance and meet legal requirements of different countries across the globe. Additionally, they meet the regulations of different automakers. The company became the Japanese pioneer company to begin research and development related to airbags in 1976. Takata entered into the international airbag market in 1987. Currently, Takata is one of the few global Companies airbag makers with a fully integrated development (Kumar & Chubin, 2000). The systems help in strengthening the capabilities of the company to design and manufacture sophisticated airbag systems.

Takata’s products include airbag control units and airbag modules. Additionally, there are impact sensing devices and several other related equipment. The company has a high-precision technology which ensures that the systems react to situations in the shortest time possible (Helmold et al. 2017). For airbag manufacturers, the technology for sensing collision impact and inflate the airbags is very vital. When a collision is detected, an impulse is generated and sent to the inflator. The inflator, in turn, initiates a chemical reaction that causes the propellant to burn. As a result, the inflation deploys the fabric cushion (Hudson Schamp, & Amin, 1995). The company is working hard to develop the next generation safety measures technologies and airbag systems (Trevino, 2015). However, the propellant in the air bags made by Takata burns very fast. Therefore, the inflator can rupture leading to the injury or death of the car occupant. As opposed to its predecessor, Takata uses ammonium nitrate to create cheaper and smaller airbags which emit less toxic fumes (Lynch & Duval, 2011). However, the ammonium nitrate use has plunged the company into a severe crisis for more than 14 years.

Takata Airbag Recalls

Automobiles manufactured by 19 different automakers were recalled to replace the frontal airbags on the driver’s side. The first incident of rapture occurred in Switzerland in a BMW vehicle (Kumar & Chubin, 2000). Takata investigated the matter and established that the rapture was as a result of overloading of the propellant in the assembly of the inflator. In 2004, Honda reported an incidence of rupture in Alabama. Honda went ahead to warn the NHTSA. It is approximated that 8.5 million Honda and Acura vehicles in the U.S were subjected to the recall for safety improvement (Helmold et al., 2017). Approximately, a total of 12.2 million Takata airbag inflators had to be recalled. Honda reported more than 100 injuries in the U.S related to the rupture of driver’s front airbag inflators. Honda apologized to the persons affected by the issue and extended its sympathies to families who had lost their loved ones (Lynch & Duval, 2011). In Malaysia, Honda confirmed one death related to the rupture of Takata airbags. In 2008, after conducting several tests, Takata recalled all Honda vehicles (Banks & Banks, 2011).

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that the recall was the greatest in the History of the United States (United States, 2010). Takata Company was the maker and supplier of the airbags (Helmold et al., 2017). The airbags had been fitted in automobiles which had been manufactured between the year 2002 and 2015. Some of the airbags were deadly since they could explode, injure and even kill the vehicle occupants.

Response to the Event

After several incidences of rupture of Takata’s airbags, the company conducted tests. It established that most break cases that had occurred involved inflators developed in 2000 (Sonntagbauer et al., 2014). The organization also noted that they all contained the propellant tablets manufactured in the same year. They shared the findings with Honda, and a recall was not issued in that year. However, Takata went on to do more tests and hypothesized that the airbags were not safe. Consequently, they recalled Honda vehicles in 2008. In 2009, Takata discovered that their calculation of the propellant’s density in 2000 and 2001 could have yielded wrong results (Akkucuk, 2016). A test on the density of the propellants used on the recalled Honda vehicles was found to have low pressure. Additionally, they had other malfunctions of the inflators.

In 2009, Takata presented the report findings to Honda and recommended the expansion of recall. As a result, Honda expanded the recall to 440,000 vehicles due to defective driver-side airbags. Takata informed NHTSA that it did not manufacture inflators similar to those covered in the previous recalls. In 2009, NHTSA launched investigations on incidences involving the rupture of Takata’s airbags. The agency demanded explanations more information from Honda and Takata. They aimed to carry out more investigations on the previous recalls. The second Honda recall affected approximately 10,000 vehicles outside the range identified by Takata (Kumar & Chubin, 2000). After the recall, Takata assessed whether it had addressed all risky inflators. A test on the inflators indicated that the density of the propellant was little. In 2010, Honda issued a third recall. NHTSA completed its investigation in 2010 and reported that Honda’s recalls were timely and appropriate.

In April 2011, Honda expanded its previous recalls because they could not trust Tataka’s replacements. It recalled 833,277 vehicles. The number increased by additional 272,779 in December 2011 (Kumar & Chubin, 2000). It is alleged that between 2011 and 2012 other six incidents of rapture occurred. However, Takata was not aware. Between February and March 2013, Takata identified two blunders which led to failure of the airbags. Takata explained that one of the mistakes occurred in its Washington plant whereby the tablets were inadequately compressed (Chernov & Sornette, 2016). The second incident took place in the Mexican plant where some propellant tablets may have been exposed to moisture (Helmold et al., 2017). Takata concluded that the propellant could deteriorate, resulting in over-aggressive combustion. Consequently, it could cause inflator rupture.

At the moment, Takata was only aware of six ruptures whereby four had occurred in the U.S and two in Japan. In April 2013, Takata informed NHTSA that the manufacturing problems might cause defects in some vehicles. Examples of Automakers mentioned included Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, GM, and BMW vehicles. Following the release of Takata’s defect report, most automakers issued recalls. However, NHTSA did not re-launch its investigations on rupturing of Takata’s airbags. Allegedly, 18 more rupture incidents occurred in 2013. The 18 incidences were followed by several others. In June 2014, NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation requested for help from Takata. Following several complaints of Takata airbag ruptures, NHTSA opened an investigation.

However, the fact that the six incidences occurred in the high humid areas of Puerto Rico and Florida gave Takata an excuse. NHTSA released a consumer advisory encouraging owners of certain vehicles to respond to recall notices from various automakers. As a result, a total of 7.8 million vehicles were recalled due to defective Takata airbags. Due to the swelling number of airbag rupture incidences, NHTSA ordered Takata to surrender information on the defective airbags. In November 2014, NHTSA organized regional recalls for cars with malfunctioned airbags. Takata was compelled to provide documents and details related to the propellant within its inflators. However, NHTSA acknowledged Takata’s public confession of its mistakes in the manufacture of airbags. Additionally, Takata’s Quality Assurance officer apologized for the deaths caused by the rupture of airbags. Takata was forced to conform to orders of recalling all vehicles with defective airbags (Chernov & Sornette, 2016). Honda and other automakers bowed to NHTSA’s pressure and by December 2014 11 million cars had been recalled.

In February 2014, a fine of a $14,000per day was imposed on Takata for failing to comply with NHTSA’s orders. NHTSA complained that Takata was not cooperative in investigations of s serious safety defect. On top of the penalty, Takata was warned that failure to respond to the orders the department of justice would be involved.

Takata responded by stating that it had provided NHTSA with a 2.5 million pages document in disagreement with the punitive measures. In the same year, NHTSA ordered Takata not to destroy airbags recovered from recalled vehicles unless it is for testing purpose. The aim of the prohibitive order was for inspection and analysis of the inflators. In the order, Takata was also required to provide ten percent of the airbags for third party testing. Additionally, NHTSA would have access to Takata’s trial data. Also, their right for collecting inflators for own testing would be preserved. On the aftermath of the safety threat, NHTSA stepped up its investigation to an Engineering Analysis. On April 2015, NHTSA submitted a published protocol by Takata. Under the protocol, vehicle manufacturers must submit a request that states the number of inflators required and the vehicle classification. After the application, Takata was then to determine whether it has adequate inflators and respond to the automaker (Chernov & Sornette, 2016).

Therefore, Takata would be able to deny or modify the request. However, if the requesting party would have a written approval from NHTSA, Takata would not have to change the application (Helmold et al., 2017). In October 2015, Toyota recalled approximately 637,000 vehicles in the United States. On the other hand, Nissan also announced to recall nearly 263,000 vehicles in the United States. In Toyota’s report which was submitted to NHTSA, it tested and recovered recalled inflators. It found that there was inadequate air sealing at the initiator seal ring. The fact that the inflators were not airtight allowed moisture to intrude. On May, 2015, Takat reported to NHTSA that it had installed more than 17 million driver-side inflators on the United States recalled vehicle. Additionally, it also stated that it had established 16 million passenger side inflators too. Takata indicated that it was aware of a problem with inflators tape seals. Therefore, it acknowledged the possibility that moisture could seep into the inflators. The report presented Takata’s preliminary conclusions from the various tests and investigations.

Takata concluded that inflator ruptures had many causes such as long term exposure to climatic conditions such as high temperatures and humidity. For example, prolonged exposure to high humidity may result in moisture intrusion through diffusion. Fraunhofer ICT was in agreement with Takata and added that long term exposure to humidity increases the porosity of the propellant. The report also suggests that the replacement of defective inflators should be done in four phases. Replacement should be based upon the danger that prevails as a result of geographic location and the age of the inflators. The company also plans to continue with the investigations on defective airbags. Takata asserts the investigation will remain open and may involve meetings with the employees. It would also request information and allow for the viewing of the test results and data. Consequently, NHTSA announced the expansion of the numbers of vehicles to be recalled. They estimated the number to be approximately 34 million vehicles. With this large number, it would become the biggest recall in the History of the United States (Chernov & Sornette, 2016).

After the organized recall, various car manufacturers had to be assigned different occasions of bringing their vehicles. Therefore, a program had to be drafted for the replacement of defective Takata airbag inflators. NHTSA would then exercise the authority of ensuring safety by organizing the recall program. However, it requested suggestions from various stakeholders on how the activity will be conducted. Additionally, NHTSA would order for new airbag inflators in Takata failed to demonstrate its ability to provide safe replacements. Honda was the first Auto maker to recall its vehicles. It announced the replacement of driver-side airbag inflators in approximately 5.1 million vehicles.  The recall took into account airbag inflators which had been installed at the time of manufacture of the vehicle (Helmold et al. 2017). Also, it accounted for replacement of inflators which had been installed in the prior three recalls of Takata inflators.

In June 2015, NHTSA gave a notice of an organized remedy program for the exchange of certain Takata Air Bag inflators. The agency stated that it was in the course of issuing administrative orders that would coordinate the program in relation to the defective air bag inflators. The coordination would include acceleration, organization, and phasing of the remedy activity. According to Takata in 2015, its defective air bags had caused approximately 100 casualties and six deaths. It alleged that most of the deaths had occurred in Florida followed by Puerto Rico, Texas, and California. However, in April the same year, Honda confirmed one more death that occurred in Lafayette, Louisiana as a result of Takata air bag rupture. This was followed by another death in June the same year as reported by Honda in Los Angeles. Therefore, the latest report filled by Takata to NHTSA indicated that they were aware on 84 rupture incidents.

Organization of the Response

Takata tried to understand the significant roles of moisture and humidity in the safety of ammonium nitrate-based propellant for more than ten years. However, the question has not yet been answered till today. Takata’s patent applications show its limited knowledge of the effect of moisture on ammonium nitrate. For example, a test in 2006 demonstrated that moisture could seep into the propellant while being made as well as after the installation into the car. In 2013, concerns were raised on the rise of temperature in the airbag which could cause loss of density by the propeller. Takata presented documents to NHTSA showing that it was making adjustments. As reported, the modifications were aimed at moisture control in the propellant during the process of manufacture. For example, they changed the moisture specification. Moisture specification refers to the amount of moisture allowable in the propellant. In 2010, Takata reduced the moisture content from 0.20 to 0.12 percent.

In 2014, Takata bowed honored Honda’s request and reduced the moisture content further down to 0.07 percent. Also, Takata made changes to minimize the amount of humidity in the environment of manufacture. For example, the presentation indicated that the company reduced the moisture specification for over three times between 2001 and 2010. The main aim of moisture specification reduction was to minimize the adversity of moisture absorption on the propellant. In 2011, Takata went further to control the amount of humidity in the entire plant. They did this by installing dehumidifiers to control the amount of moisture during the manufacturing process. Takata continues to investigate more on the effect of humidity on the life of the air bag. As discussed before, Fraunhofer ICT research Institute agreed with Takata on the impact of moisture on the propellant. However, they added the aspect of high temperature in explaining the rupture of the air bag.

Analysis of Reaction to the Recall

The NHTSA civil penalty imposed on Takata was aimed at reducing the cases of safety violations. However, the civil penalties should be increased. This mechanism seems stronger because the Takata’s incidence proved the need for such harsh mechanisms (Wimmer & Muni, 2012). Despite Takata using a very long time to adjust, it has not been able to come up with trusted air bag inflators. For example, NHTSA collected a total of $126 million in civil penalties. The amount was more than the amount the agency had raised in the America’s History. NHTSA main aim is not to punish the automakers. Their primary objective is to reduce or eliminate the commission of grave safety violations by the automakers. Also, NHTSA compelled Takata to report the significant defect details.

Takata was fined for not responding to the orders. This was a good move because the automakers and the end users were made aware of the danger that they were facing. As a result, the automakers such as Honda, Toyota, and BMW among others were forced to recall certain brands of their vehicles (Wimmer & Muni, 2012). Additionally, the end users were advised on how to identify whether their vehicles were affected by the recall. One should note that other giant car manufacturers such as Toyota have been previously fined for committing crimes against human safety. Therefore, it was appropriate to penalize Takata as well. The Senate Congress reportedly suggested on increasing the penalty during the Takata crisis. A bill was tabled in the 11th Congress proposed the increment of the cap to $300 million. However, it did not succeed, and currently, it stands at 200 million. The bold step by the Congress’s goal was to strengthen NHTSA. A stronger NHTSA would curb offenses committed by companies such as Takata (Smith, Thomas, & Quelch, 1996). Consequently, the number of deaths resulting from business errors would be minimized.

The provision of enhanced and independent testing capability was good. In the midst of the crisis, NHTSA invited Fraunhofer ICT research Institute to help in the testing of the defective Takata airbags. The Institute assisted in re-affirming the impacts of the humidity on the airbag propellant as established by Takata. Additionally, they confirmed that high temperature was detrimental to the propellant’s performance and that it led to rupture. NHTSA’s ability to conduct independent testing is aimed at improving motor vehicle safety. Takata was bestowed with the responsibility to establish the cause of the rupture of air bags. However, the regulator should also investigate independently to verify Takata’s findings. NHTSA should be able to aggressively identify and address defects before they cause more deaths and injuries.

However, the agency should collect accurate data and analyze it critically to discern expected trends. For example, if the patterns of the rapture of Tataka’s air bags rapture could have been critically analyzed, more deaths could have been averted. Additionally, there should be set conditions for conducting investigations. With such capabilities, safety deficiencies will be efficiently addressed. NHTSA is currently underfunded, a factor that has contributed to its inefficiency. Apart from being underfunded, it is also understaffed with only 51 men responsible for the analysis of data. Considering the overwhelming amount of data, the agency should have more workforce. For NHTSA to perform efficiently, its budget should be increased to hire more employees. With enough workforce, the company will monitor data, identify defects, and conduct investigations of vehicles with defects. Incidences like the one of the Tataka would have been efficiently handled with a rejuvenated NHTSA. Additionally, investigations would have been carried out to establish cars which should be recalled. Critical analysis of the data would have confirmed the ability of the company to manufacture safe air bags. Also, the technology applied could have been put into question due to its low.

The recall completion rates were satisfactory. Most vehicle manufacturers recalled the cars that had the defective Tataka air bags. Examples of companies affected include Honda, Toyota, and BMW. Also, cars which had been recalled in the first, second, and third recalls were recalled again (Smith, Thomas & Quelch, 1996). The defective air bags had been installed in car models manufactured between the year 2002 and 2015. NHTSA estimated that 42 million vehicles were recalled with the total number of vehicles in the vehicles being between 65 and 70 million. The response of the end users was also good. They were able to identify the cars with defective airbags and sent them back to the manufacturers. As a result, the number of vehicles recalled is big.

It can be concluded that the recalls were successful because they saved lives by getting the cars fixed. However, the recall completion rate was relatively low. This is because, by the end of 2014, 17 million vehicles had been recalled. However, only 2 million cars had been fixed. 2 million cars represent a completion rate of 11 percent which is very low (Wimmer & Muni, 2012). Therefore, NHTSA should aim at improved completion rate. It should organize workshops with the related industries and encourage high recall completion rates. Alternatively, it can set a standard recall completion rate whereby failure to meet it there are consequences. They can also put a target of 100 percent recall completion rate and look for means to achieve it.

The whistleblower legislation helped in reporting of the safety defects to NHTSA (Arszułowicz & Gasparski, 2011). Increased civil penalties aided in the protection of the whistleblowers whose function is to report safety defects. As a result, the Tataka airbags defects were reported in time. From the paper, every air bag rupture was reported despite Tataka denying some of them. For example, Tataka denied six fracture incidences in Florida. However, it later admitted that the incidences occurred and faulted the humid climatic conditions in Florida for the ruptures. Additionally, the Tataka employees reported information on various issues surrounding the production of the defective air bags. They spoke to media sources such as The New York Times in the aftermath of the crisis. This is because they were protected by the whistleblower legislative and they could not be sacked by the company.

The law also protects supplier and dealers from discrimination when they reveal significant safety concerns (Smith, Thomas, & Quelch, 1996). Apart from protection, employees and contractors were given incentives under the law to show defects in the Tataka air bags. Under the bill, the secretary of Transportation is required to share the fines collected with the whistleblower. Consequently, the whistleblowers are motivated to share the information voluntarily. The legislation explains why the employees surrendered the information on Tataka defective air bags. Therefore, the whistleblowers played a great role in the revelation of the safety concerns caused by the defective Tataka air bags.

Advisory Note

Apart from what Takata is doing to handle the situation, it can do better. The company should work with NHTSA to ensure that safety of the end users is agreed. On the other hand, it should collaborate with the auto manufacturers to subsidize loan cars (Arszułowicz & Gasparski, 2011). The cars on credit should be availed to the consumers whose vehicles are undergoing lengthy recalls. Takata should increase their ability to respond to more air bag defects. It should double or triple the production of replacement inflators. By doing so, the period required to replace the defective airbags for the recalled vehicles will be reduced. Also, the cases of consumers being told that the parts are unavailable will be eliminated (Sullivan, 2012). However, the company needs to have a better planning for recalls, especially the massive recalls. Takata can also partner with other air bags manufacturers to improve the efficiency of the recalls. As a result, the replacement sources will be expanded, and more vehicles will be repaired.

The company should engage NHTSA to use the 30120 authority to accelerate the replacement of its defective air bags at a cost. As a result, the public safety will be enhanced (Smith, Thomas & Quelch, 1996). Tataka should also ensure that information about its products is available to the consumers. It should avail the recall information on the internet. By doing so, it will exercise transparency and accountability (Hesselbach & Herrmann, 2011). As a result, it will regain confidence in its customers. The customers will be able to verify whether their vehicle is a subject recall or not. In partnership with car manufacturers, loan cars should be availed to the consumers. This is because the company cannot meet the high demand of air bags. Therefore, it takes time to fix recalled cars. In the period of repair, the consumers should be given loan cars as their vehicles get fixed. Therefore, the rental cars will help the users to avert serious safety hazards.

Tataka should install tracking systems on its products. Tracking system installation will help the company in readiness of the future recalls. This will make the company’s products visible. As a result, the company will be able to identify specific products that must be recalled. This will save the company a huge amount of money. Additionally, the company will minimize waste and brand damage while maintaining customers and sales. The company should also keep in contact with its customers. Frequently contact with the customers will help in monitoring the product and identifying any defect at its early stages. Also, the company’s responsiveness will be enhanced. As a result, the recall team will avoid a back clash of recalls as it happened in Honda’s first, second, and third recalls.

The company should also study the market leaders. Creation of contingency plans should follow the market study. This will compare Tataka to other companies, their recall preparedness and market activities. On the other hand, the company should insure its products against recalls. The insurance firms will step in and financially bail out the company. As a result, cases of bankruptcy will be avoided and the company will continue running its business as usual.  Additionally, the customers’ needs will be addressed properly with the company having financial muscle.

The company should also reward the key participants in the response team. During the recall, most Tataka employees performed their duties under intense pressure. There were many cars to be repaired under a limited time frame. Therefore, the workers sacrificed so much to repair the recalled cars (Wimmer & Muni, 2012). Additionally, they were completely exhausted. Considering that a recall can have adverse impacts on the company, the recall team needs to be motivated. Rewarding them will motivate them to work harder and even prepare for a future recall.

Tataka Air Bag Company should keep its customers updated on the changes they make on their products. This includes change in technology and materials. As a result, the customers will be aware that their interest is the company’s primary interest. In Tataka’s case, the customer’s interest is safety. The company should consider taking the lengthy way in modifying its products. Shortcuts will only compromise the customers’ safety. Additionally, it is unethical to ignore the safety of the car users. Therefore, the company should consider overhauling the whole process of manufacture. Also, it should engage other Air bag manufacturers to borrow safer technologies. The commitment of the company to the safety of the customers will generate a tremendous amount of trust and respect.

Recommendations on the Aftermath

During the recall, Tataka focused all energy on the immediate issues. The pressing issues as discussed in the paper included risk assessment, decisions taken, and the logistical challenges (Hardy & Bacon, 2012). However, at the end of the recall, Tataka should focus on rebuilding its brand again. Recall of the Tataka air bags generated a negative corporate image to the public. As a result, the company’s share prices, sales, and overall profits reduced (Lesko & Martello, 2012. At some point, the company became bankrupt. Failure to address a recall appropriately results in a terrible failure of the business.

The company should invest more in the advertisement, repair, and replacement of the air bags (Hardy & Bacon, 2012). The ads should show the commitment of the company to safety as well as the rejuvenated products. Tataka should make the adverts available across the world and offer apologies to the affected families. As a result, the company will improve its share prices and sales. Additionally, it should refund the auto makers where possible. The refunding will serve to show that the deadly mistake was not intentional.

Tataka should acknowledge the problem and attempt to keep the customers loyal (Michman & Mazze, 1998). It should emulate other companies which have admitted their mistakes. For example, in 2008, Maple Foods CEO apologized of the food that caused an uproar in the country and vowed to fix it. Acknowledging and apologizing will save the brand’s name. Tatataka’s brand name suffered immensely after the recall. Therefore, the company should work hard to remedy the impact. It should ensure that the impact is short term and does not go to the global scale (Arszułowicz & Gasparski, 2011). Additionally, it should make sure that its competitors exploit the recall. Tataka can achieve this by designing adverts countering the competitors’ adverts. By doing so, their brand will not be replaced since the trust will be rebuilt (Hardy & Bacon, 2012). The acknowledgment strategy will enhance openness to the customers. Apologizing will make the customers feel treasured by the business.

The company should learn from the previous mistakes and avoid committing them again. To avoid them, the company should document and review all recall notifications. Also, it should look for opportunities to point out at possible mistakes and implement the appropriate remedies. Tataka should also identify possible improvements in recall logistics. This will help in minimizing the impact of a future recall. In learning from its mistakes, the company should also evaluate its suppliers.  The evaluation should indicate whether the company continues receiving supplies from the current suppliers or not.

Tataka should review its recall systems. It should conduct a post-mortem to establish the cause of the problem. The post-mortem will highlight the strategies employing in countering the previous recall. Additionally, it will develop the various areas of weaknesses that need to be improved. Tataka should also assess its contractual agreements with the vehicle manufacturers. If the contractual arrangements are not favorable, the company should consider altering them in their favor (Smith, Thomas, & Quelch, 1996). However, delivering the best products should be their primary motive. Assessment of the communication channels and systems should be done. This will establish the efficiency of the various support systems and resources. The company should also assess the effectiveness of its employees. After determining their effectiveness, it should consider training them. Fresh training should be done on the incident management team. The training is aimed at avoiding mistakes which would warrant a recall in the future.

Tataka Air Bags Company should incentivize customers to return the recalled product in some way. This will increase the number of products collected. Also, it will increase the customers’ confidence in the company and maintain their loyalty. The company should issue vouchers to the affected customers. As a result, the process of returning defective air bags will be easier. Additionally, the company will easily track its recalled products.

The company should also work on eradicating the civil claims and complaints from NHTSA and the vehicle manufacturers (Blythe & Noakes-Fry, 2014). It should address the aggrieved auto makers and consumers. Also, it should water down all evidence that can be used to it in a court of law. In case it is taken to court by the complainants, it should ensure that the judge views the recall as a precautionary measure. The company should also work towards convincing the market on the safety of its air bags. It should adjust its manufacturing technology to avoid future recalls. The company should also grant freedom of information to the vehicle manufacturers and the end users. It should avail information about the company on the internet. Provision of the information will ensure that safety agencies such as NHTSA access it frequently (Hardy & Bacon, 2012). The image of the company will be redeemed. Also, the competitors, media, and other solicitors will readily obtain the information from the enterprise’s website. The company employees should also be granted the freedom to communicate to media personnel about the business’s operations (Cleland, 2013). By doing so, safety defects will be noticed at their early stages. As a result, they will be mitigated before they cause many casualties.

The company should consider re-introducing its product in the market. Re-introduction entails revamping the recalled products and introducing them again in the market. This will help the company recover the lost sales and regain confidence in its clients. The company should communicate to the public about the safety plans of the re-introduced product. In the safety plan, the company must highlight on how it will avoid occurrence of future recalls. Also, the company should advertise and promote their loyal customers to win back their loyalty.

Tataka should adequately prepare itself for future recalls. It should be able to react in a better to a future recall than it did in the previous ones (Hardy & Bacon, 2012). Therefore, the senior managers should recognize the need for recall preparedness from experience. Employees should be made to understand the relationship between recalls and the consumer safety. Tataka Air Bag Company should design a recall manual that outlines its policy and guidelines. Consequently, the customer’s satisfaction will remain paramount (Wimmer & Muni, 2012).

The recall manual should assign duties to managers who could be called in the case of a recall. Also, it should enlist partners who could step in to help in a recall situation. The company should also respond quickly to claims against it. It should also deal with any negative product claims in the shortest time possible (Smith, Thomas, & Quelch, 1996). This will avoid cases of increased size and number of claims against the company like it happened in the previous recalls. Tataka should also figure out on how to re-introduce its air bags in the market. Therefore, it should design a re-introduction plan. The Purpose of the plan is to reassert the brand identity. Also, the company should look at its competitors and borrow their good technologies. As a result, the company will emerge as a key player in the market again.

The company should take immediate action when a complaint is raised. For example, if a car manufacturer gives a negative feedback an investigation should be launched. As a result, massive recalls will be avoided. Also, the dangers exposed to the drivers will be minimized. Additionally, the company must take into considerations the end user feedbacks. Tataka should avoid the mistake of delaying to respond like it did previously. The delay resulted into what the NHTSA termed as the largest recall in the History of the United States. The company should also do a massive investment in design, development, and testing. In the development, it should review the critical safety issues. The company engineers should be mandated to prevent marketing of defective air bags.


From the paper, it is evident that Tataka and NHTSA have failed to investigate and address the recall of defective air bags. Tataka failed in the maintenance of more healthy culture safety. The early discovery of the defects was contributed by Tataka’s negligence. If it had observed the safety culture, the defects could have been noticed earlier. Consequently, many rupture cases could have been averted and lives saved. On the other hand, NHTSA failed to take aggressive investigative measures against Tataka’s defective air bags. Had NHTSA investigated the matter in time, the defects could have been addressed earlier. The automakers also failed in identifying the errors before installing them and passing them to the consumers. Therefore, the consumers have lost confidence in the safety of the vehicles. The three parties discussed in the paper have to work hard to regain the trust of the consumer. Automakers have to redouble their vehicle internal safety efforts. Also, the article has discussed on how Tataka can effectively deal with the recall. In the advisory note, the company has been advised to engage more stakeholders to enable it to deal with the recall. If the company applies the suggested strategies, it will successfully overcome the recall’s impact.


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