Takata has become the poster child for how to mishandle recalls and customers.
Company executives seem to be stonewalling their automaker customers, then stonewalling federal regulators and, finally, stonewalling Congress. And I guess we'd have to add to that several million drivers of cars equipped with Takata-built airbags.
I don't know if it's ignorance, naivete or simply arrogance. But it's clear Takata executives don't understand the system and don't know they can't spit in the eye of everybody and get away with it.
Their insistence on not expanding a recall beyond high-humidity regions into a national one is stunning. I'm simply amazed that they would think cars sold in the United States aren't driven across state lines.
A car bought in Miami could easily end up in Minneapolis or San Diego within days. The idea that a car stays in a single, specific climate forever is simply not realistic.
For Takata to simply stonewall its customers and the government doesn't make sense unless its executives think they are fighting for their corporate lives and are on the brink of financial ruin.
You don't make friends and influence people by ignoring their problems and ignoring Congress.
Right now, the perception of Takata is about as low as it can be. There must be plenty of automakers that would gladly switch their business to Autoliv or TRW but can't because they are too closely entwined.
The general public doesn't know much about how airbags work. Airbags seem to be one of those black art car systems we accept without question.
You wonder if Takata's reluctance to be transparent is hurting the entire category of suppliers as well as general public faith in airbags.
It took a very long time to get airbags installed as mandatory safety devices. It would be a shame if people started to lose faith in airbag effectiveness.
This flap hasn't had much impact on U.S. auto sales. But it wouldn't surprise me if it has a big impact on Takata's relationships with its manufacturing customers.
Takata has become a prime example of how not to handle a serious recall. Takata management hasn't done itself or the auto industry any good by its behavior.