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更新时间:2015-5-21 10:16:52 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Recalls Over Takata Airbag Defects Grow to 34 Million

Takata, the Japanese supplier linked to faulty airbags in millions of cars, widened the scale of potential recalls in the United States on Tuesday to 34 million vehicles.


The supplier made the announcement with federal safety regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which had been prodding the company since late last year to say that the airbags were defective. Takata had fought these demands, even asserting at one point that the agency could not force it to issue a recall.

高田与国家公路交通安全局(National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)的联邦安全监管部门共同发出了这项声明。自去年底以来,安全局一直在敦促高田承认气囊存在问题。高田始终不愿遵从这些要求,甚至一度宣称安全局无权强迫它召回。

Airbag inflaters made by Takata can explode violently when they deploy, spraying metal fragments into the passenger compartment. Six deaths and more than 100 injuries have been linked to the flaw.


“From the very beginning, our goal has been simple: a safe airbag in every vehicle,” said Mark R. Rosekind, administrator of the safety agency since December. “The steps we’re taking today represent significant progress toward that goal.”

“从一开始,我们的目标就很简单:每辆车都配有安全的气囊,”自12月起担任安全局局长的马克·罗斯金德(Mark Rosekind)说。“我们今天采取的举措,代表着我们朝这个目标迈进了一大步。”

But the agency said it did not have a final breakdown yet of all the makes and models the expanded recall encompasses, and that it will not for several days until it coordinates with automakers. The final number of defective cars may shift downward as more tests are performed, Mr. Rosekind said. He acknowledged that the repairs could take several years to complete, but he said that consumers could still drive their cars in the meantime.


“Yes, people need to drive their cars,” Mr. Rosekind said, adding that they should be checking with their dealers often “to ensure it gets replaced as soon as possible.”


Even now, Takata and automakers continue to search for the root cause of the inflater defect, but it still remains unclear. But in new filings with the safety agency, Takata went further than it had previously in admitting wider, structural problems with its airbag inflaters.


“Up until now Takata has refused to acknowledge that their airbags are defective,” said Anthony Foxx, the transportation secretary. “That changes today.”

“在此之前,高田公司一直拒绝承认旗下的安全气囊有缺陷,”运输部部长安东尼·福克斯(Anthony Foxx)说。“这种情况今天发生了改变。”

In its filings, dated Monday, Takata said that the propellant in the airbag inflaters — the explosive material that generates the gases to inflate the airbag — could degrade over time if exposed to high humidity and changes in temperature, making it prone to “over-aggressive combustion.”


Former Takata engineers told The New York Times last year that they had raised concerns over a decade ago that the explosive material Takata uses — ammonium nitrate — was sensitive to moisture and temperature swings. But those concerns went unheeded, they said.


Takata’s patents also document how the company’s engineers for years struggled to stabilize the ammonium nitrate in its propellant.


And for the first time, Takata also acknowledged problems with leaks in its airbag inflaters. Tests had revealed that some of its airbag inflaters were found to have leaks in the seals that are supposed to keep them air tight.


Last week, a former Takata consultant said that tests he carried out on prototype Takata airbags in the early 2000s showed that they contained leaks. He urged the company to use a different leak testing method, one that he devised, he said, but his advice went unheeded.