We're not sure how much more Takata can get wrong concerning its airbag fiasco. The Wall Street Journal says it reviewed internal documents submitted during litigation that reveal US engineers had concerns about altered test data for at least a decade, from 2000 to 2010. This comes after Taktata's largest customer, Honda, stopped doing business with the company, publicly calling Takata out for "misrepresented and manipulated test data." On top of that, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hit the Japanese company with an open-ended fine of $70 million. Ford took away its business, as have Toyota and Mazda. The latest recall tall has surpassed 19 million vehicles in the US alone.

The in-house memos show US employees complaining among themselves that their Japanese equivalents were burying validation test failures and changing the results of validation tests. Such tests are conducted to show automakers that Takata products met specification, and employees specifically cite Honda as the recipient of those edited or redacted reports. One US engineer wrote that the "prettying up" of data "confounded my engineers," and "has gone beyond all reasonable bounds and now most likely constitutes fraud." The engineer apparently said his team made sure that the products were up to spec by using alternative data.

Takata said the issues the Journal article covers don't have anything to do with the exploding airbags, and that in one case the problem with the airbag inflator was resolved, and in another case the problem airbag inflators didn't reach production. Takata admitted to the Journal that there have been past instances of "selective, incomplete or inaccurate data" in customer validation reports and apologized, laying the situation at the feet of employees trying to meet production deadlines.

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