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article imageTakata CEO sorry for airbag deaths leading to auto recall

By Caroline Leopold     Jun 26, 2015 in Technology
Tokyo - Takata's chief executive broke his silence and publicly apologized for his company's handling of the recall of faulty airbags, which have been implicated in eight deaths and dozens of injuries.
In a rare public appearance, Takata's chief executive has spoken publicly about the airbag scandal that has led to the largest recall in U.S. automobile industry.
During a press conference on Thursday, Shigehisa Takada apologized for the deaths and injuries caused by Takata's defective airbags, and for failing to explain the situation directly to the public sooner.
"I felt that the priority of my job is to ensure our products are safe," Takada said. "I regret that I haven't offered enough explanations." Takata told reporters that he does not plan to resign, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Airbags made by the Japanese company have been found to explode with such force that shrapnel can fly into the face and body. So far, authorities have linked the airbags to seven deaths in the U.S. and one in Malaysia. Takada has kept a very low public profile since the scandal erupted.
It is unclear how many injuries have resulted from the airbags, but regulators have counted the complaints to be at least 139 people were injured by exploding airbags.
When speaking with news reporters, Takada said his company will consider setting up a fund to compensate victims and families. However, he did not divulge details of how much money the company will spend on recall efforts.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) this week called on Takata to establish a compensation fund and asked that the congressional panel receive an answer in two weeks.
Car makers have pledged to replace the air bags, in which about 34 million U.S. vehicles are affected. This has been the largest auto recall in U.S. history, which affects about one in seven cars on U.S. roads. The recall, which began in 2009, still has not removed all at-risk automobiles from the roads.
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