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Thursday, October 15, 2020

Brace Yourselves, Japanese Automakers May Soon Face a Recall Over Seatbelts

The global Takata airbag recall isn’t complete yet, and now, we might be facing a new recall surrounding Takata seat belts. Though it is best known for the green belts used by the aftermarket scene (see lead photo), Takata is actually the top seat belt maker in Japan with a market share of about 40 percent (30 percent globally).

The problems surrounding the Takata seatbelts were discovered by U.S. automotive component maker Joyson Safety Systems (JSS) which bought the bankrupt airbag maker in April 2018. JSS says they are investigating inaccuracies in the reporting of belt webbing test data at a Japanese factory over two years ago.

The inaccuracies were found in reporting from the factory in Hikone, Japan.

According to JSS, their investigation unveiled that 9 million seat belts with inaccurate safety test data was shipped to Japanese carmakers. This may result in around 2 million safety-related recalls. The Japanese transport ministry has asked JSS’s unit in the country to submit an investigation report, and has also told automakers to prepare for recalls of the seat belts in question.

The ministry is still investigating which cars are affected by the issue, and whether any such vehicles were shipped to markets outside of Japan.

In 2017, Takata pleaded guilty to criminal wrongdoing over its airbag inflators, including submitting false inflator test results to automaker clients to induce them to buy its defective products. Most of Takata’s airbag inflators held a chemical compound which could explode with excessive force, sending metal shrapnel into vehicle compartments.

Locally, faulty Takata airbags caused Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Chevrolet, Mazda, and Subaru to issue separate recalls. Other carmakers were likely affected as well but opted not to publicly announce any recall.

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