Two years after things have gone sour, the CEO issued a public apology for the mess-up. 49-year-old Shigehisa Takada first apologized to Takata Corp.'s board of directors, but that doesn't count for the people affected by the airbag recalls. Following this closed-door apology, Takada manned up to say sorry to the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
"Takata wishes to apologize for the concern and inconvenience caused by the airbag problem. Takata will continue to cooperate fully with regulators and automakers to ensure the safety of the traveling public," declared the chief executive officer. And he added that he will not step down from his CEO position.
Mr. Takata, "concern and inconvenience" doesn't excuse the company for the 8 deaths tied to the airbag problem, nor the countless injured people. Those 33.8 million vehicles equipped with faulty inflators don't count as cooperating with regulators and automakers because you've announced the scope of the disaster too late, hiding vital information from the NHTSA and the automakers involved. It's too little, too late.
What does wash a few of the Takata Corp.'s sins is Shigehisa's announcement according to which the company is preparing a compensation program for the victims. Nothing is solid at the present moment, but do expect a similar compensation program as the GM Ignition Compensation Claims Resolution Facility.
And on that bombshell (no pun intended, Mr. Takada), the company will continue to use ammonium nitrate in the airbag inflator propellant. This chemical element is what led to the fiasco Takata Corp. is dealing with right now, due to the ammonium nitrate's sensibility to temperature changes and intense humidity.