Honda is reportedly frustrated with Takata’s response over its defective airbag inflators and its inability to zero in on the cause of the problems, with the carmaker’s CEO Takanobu Ito said to be “angry” and “betrayed” by the Japanese auto parts manufacturer, according to Reuters.

Insiders told the news agency that Honda was so worried about the rising number of recalls on its products that it bought used and scrapped cars to conduct its own tests. They said an evaluation of 100-150 Takata airbags at Honda’s quality centre in Japan in the first half of the year showed flaws in the quality of Takata’s manufacturing, adding that it casted doubts on the competence of one of Honda’s core suppliers, or keiretsu.

Honda’s tests apparently showed Takata was “extremely sloppy” in preparing the propellants in the inflators. One of the insiders claimed the samples contained varying amounts of ammonium nitrate and secondary ingredients – many of which went beyond preset margins of error – and varying amounts of compounds that strayed from Honda-approved inflator recipes.

Some propellants were said to have displayed colourings, which one of the individuals attributed to damage from exposure to moisture – a leading theory of the exploding airbag inflators that have caused five deaths so far, including one in Malaysia.


Ito’s opinion of Takata reportedly went sour after the tests concluded in the middle of the year, as he felt Takata was not providing him with enough details as to the cause of the defects. One of the insiders remarked that Ito considered Honda a “victim” in the ordeal, and said that he had no sympathy for Takata, adding that he would not intervene to save the company if it fell into financial difficulties.

To its end, Takata has denied that Honda conducted these tests because it was unhappy with Takata’s explanation into the defects, saying it was not informed of any quality problems found.

“If Honda did the kind of quality tests on Takata inflators you’re describing, wouldn’t you assume Honda would communicate with us, to ask us about the quality lapses they supposedly found?” said a Takata spokesman. “As far as we know, and we looked into it extensively, there has been no such communication between us.”


So far, carmakers have recalled 21 million cars around the world since 2008 due to the defective Takata airbag inflators. Honda itself has called back 14 million cars, mostly in the United States. The company has stated that it was looking to rival parts makers Autoliv and Daicel for replacement parts to help repair cars involved in Takata-related recalls.

Honda Malaysia recently issued a recall involving 15,734 units of the 2003-2004 Honda City, as well as the 2004 Honda Jazz to replace the driver’s side airbag. They join a separate recall announced last June, which involved the 2001-2003 Honda Stream, 2002-2003 Honda Jazz, 2003 Honda City and 2003 Honda Accord, this time for a front passenger airbag issue.

UMW Toyota has also recalled 18,700 units of the 2000-2003 Toyota Camry and Toyota Corolla Altis, while Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) recalled four units of the CBU first-generation Nissan X-Trail.