TO THE EDITOR:
I sincerely appreciate the comprehensive approach to the complex Takata story (“Honda goes the extra mile to close out airbag recalls,” Dec. 11), but please be aware of some important facts.
This year, Takata pleaded guilty to defrauding multiple automakers, including Honda, by providing falsified test data. There is no doubt the conduct described in the guilty plea impacted not only any decision we would have made about placing these inflators into our vehicles, but also the scope and timing of subsequent recalls.
Jason Levine’s comments are not supported by facts. Honda did not “drag its feet,” nor were we in “denial.” Levine said Honda’s decision to institute Safety Improvement Campaigns “sends a mixed message to consumers,” but NHTSA requested those campaigns. Honda did not decide on this response. When defects were later declared, Honda and other automakers transitioned to recalls.
Regarding the statements: “It took a while for Honda ... to recognize the scope of its problem with bad Takata airbag inflators” and “It wasn’t until November 2014 that Honda upgraded a repair campaign covering 13 nameplates to a formal recall in the U.S.” Please note that it didn’t take Honda “a while” to recognize the scope of “its problem.” In fact, Honda initiated its first recall of Takata airbag inflators in November 2008 and was already involved in extensive and urgent efforts to determine the root cause of inflator ruptures and the scope of the problem. Subsequent recalls were quickly initiated when new defect information came to light.
CHRIS MARTIN, Manager of Regulatory, Legal and Technology Communications, American Honda Motor Co., Torrance, Calif.