With Takata's airbag inflator recall expanding nationwide soon, the scope of this safety campaign is only growing, and is set to affect millions of additional vehicles. Toyota thinks that it can help, though. The Japanese automaker has announced an initiative to get all of the affected companies to band together to fund independent, third-party testing of the faulty components.
The initiative is still very new, and there's no set timeframe for this third-party testing to begin.
The goal of this work is to "ensure the inflators that require replacement are accurately identified and promptly fixed," according to Toyota. All of the data would be shared among the participating automakers to better understand the causes of these problems, which still aren't entirely known, and come up with the best way to repair the affected vehicles.
"By combining our collective efforts behind a coordinated, comprehensive testing program, we believe we can achieve greater results. Together we will be better equipped to address this issue more rapidly for all customers," said Simon Nagata, President and CEO, Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, in the company's release.
According to Toyota spokesperson Cindy Knight speaking to Autoblog, the initiative is still very new, and there's no set timeframe for this third-party testing to begin. The automaker's first step is simply getting the word out that it's looking for partners. She said Toyota "has spoken with colleagues in the industry" about setting up the independent evaluations and specifically said the company has already reached out to Honda and Ford about possibly working together on this.
Honda also released a statement calling for similar third party testing, and when reached for comment about Toyota's proposal, Ford spokesperson Kelli Felker responded: "Ford takes the safety of our customers very seriously. We plan to join the proposed industry wide effort to investigate and develop solutions to address this critical issue. We look forward to discussing next steps with NHTSA and other automakers."
Scroll down to read Toyota and Honda's full announcements of these safety initiative.
Company invites other automakers to join, and Takata to support, an independent expert testing initiative to expedite customer solutions related to airbag inflators
December 02, 2014
TORRANCE, Calif., Dec 2, 2014 – Toyota today called for a coordinated industry-wide joint initiative to independently test Takata airbag inflators that have been the subject of recent recalls. The goal of this initiative is to address affected automakers' issues related to the airbag inflator recalls and supplement testing being undertaken by Takata in order to address customer concerns about safety.
"The safety, security, and peace of mind for our customers are our highest priority, and I believe this is shared with all the other automakers. That is what this initiative is all about," said Simon Nagata, president and CEO, Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc. "By combining our collective efforts behind a coordinated, comprehensive testing program, we believe we can achieve greater results. Together we will be better equipped to address this issue more rapidly for all customers," said Nagata.
Over the past year, a number of automakers, in collaboration with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Takata, have announced recalls in the U.S. and Canada related to airbag inflators produced by Takata. While the specific issue may vary depending on the inflator model, the objective of seeking collaborative third-party testing is to ensure the inflators that require replacement are accurately identified and promptly fixed.
Toyota is seeking industry-wide coordination in support of a yet-to-be-named independent engineering analysis expert to test airbag inflators. Independent testing will allow the affected automakers to share test results and analyses, and better understand how best to implement recall repairs.
In April 2013, Toyota launched a nationwide recall for Takata-produced front passenger airbag inflators in certain vehicles. This recall is still in effect today, and the company remains committed to addressing this issue for customers across the U.S. and Canada.
In October, Takata provided testing data to Toyota and NHTSA that suggested the risk was highest in areas of consistently high absolute humidity in the U.S. In response, Toyota intensified its recall efforts to reach more than 300,000 customers in those areas, and repairs have begun.
Beginning this month, Toyota will invite all automakers affected by the Takata airbag inflator issues to discuss the potential of a collaborative effort to source independent testing.
Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world's top automaker and creator of the Prius, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we've built more than 25 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 40,000 people (more than 32,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.5 million cars and trucks (more than 2.2 million in the U.S.) in 2013 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.
Toyota partners with philanthropic organizations across the country, with a focus on education, safety and the environment. As part of this commitment, we share the company's extensive know-how garnered from building great cars and trucks to help community organizations and other nonprofits expand their ability to do good. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.
Honda to Engage in Industry-Wide Third-Party Airbag Inflator Research Effort
Dec 2, 2014 - TORRANCE, Calif.Company urges other automakers to join comprehensive testing initiative
Asks Takata to provide existing test data
Honda today called for coordinated, industry-wide, third-party testing of Takata airbag inflators with the goal of ensuring that all of the inflators that require replacement are accurately identified and fixed as quickly as possible.
"We believe that the industry can achieve greater results by sharing information and putting its collective efforts behind the same objective third party testing program," said Rick Schostek, executive vice president of Honda North America, Inc. "Honda continues to quickly address the needs and concerns of our customers, and this industry-wide initiative will bring additional energy and focus to this effort."
Honda is encouraging all automakers affected by the various airbag inflator recalls to join in this effort to engage an independent engineering analysis expert to test airbag inflators. Honda is also calling on Takata to provide the necessary testing data to support this new initiative.
More than 39,000 Honda associates in North America design, develop, manufacture, market and support the servicing of Honda and Acura products. Honda operates 16 manufacturing plants across North America, including eight auto plants producing nearly 95 percent of the Honda and Acura automobiles the company sells in America, using domestic and globally sourced parts. Honda also operates 16 R&D facilities in the region.
Honda's cumulative capital investment in North America exceeds $22 billion, and its purchases of parts and services from suppliers in North America reached a record of more than $25 billion in fiscal year 2014 (ended March 31, 2014). Over the past two years, Honda has invested an additional $2.7 billion in its North American manufacturing operations, including more than $1 billion in its U.S. operations.