Takata Air-Bag Crisis Spreads to India With Reported Fatality

  • India death involved Takata air-bag inflator in Honda Civic
  • Fatality would be second outside U.S. involving Takata parts

The safety crisis involving malfunctioning vehicular air-bag inflators made by Japan’s Takata Corp. has spread to India after a first reported death involving the components.

Honda Motor Co. said that a 2007 Honda Civic was traveling at a high speed in India last April when it rolled over and crashed, resulting in the driver’s death. Honda learned of the accident three months later and investigations showed the air bag made by Takata had deployed and ruptured, though the cause of death hasn’t been determined, according to Honda spokesman Ben Nakamura.

The death in India would be the 11th fatality involving Takata’s air bags and the second outside the U.S. A pregnant woman and her unborn child died in Malaysia in 2014 when a collision with an oncoming car set off the air bag and fired a one-inch-wide metal shard into her neck. The news of the India fatality comes after the U.S. regulator said Takata would have to expand recalls after the coroner determined that a rupture contributed to the death of the driver of a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup in South Carolina.

Takata included the reference to the India death in a filing to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration dated Jan. 25. The company said it learnt of a “field event” in India in August involving an inflator manufactured in October 2006 at its factory in Monclova, Mexico.

The type of the airbag inflator, identified as SDI by Takata, is also linked to two other fatalities, including the August 2014 death of the Malaysian driver and the most recent death of the Ford driver. Takata spokesman Toyohiro Hishikawa said the company is aware of the India death and didn’t have any details when contacted for comment.

Takata plans to detail its business outlook to major customers at a meeting this week so as to gauge how receptive they will be to extending financial aid, according to a person familiar with the matter.

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