Honda confirms 17th US death in Takata airbag rupture

The Takata recalls cover about 100 million inflators among 19 major automakers worldwide. (AFP)
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Updated 05 October 2020

Honda confirms 17th US death in Takata airbag rupture

  • The defect, which leads in rare instances to airbag inflators rupturing and sending metal fragments flying, prompted the largest automotive recall in US history and is tied to 15 US deaths

WASHINGTON: Honda Motor Co. said on Saturday it has confirmed a 17th US death tied to a faulty Takata airbag inflator.

The Japanese automaker said that after a joint inspection with the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it confirmed a faulty airbag inflator was to blame for the Aug. 20 crash of a 2002 Honda Civic that led to the death of a driver in Mesa, Arizona.

The defect, which leads in rare instances to airbag inflators rupturing and sending metal fragments flying, prompted the largest automotive recall in US history and is tied to 15 US deaths in Honda vehicles and two in Ford Motor Co. vehicles since 2009. More than 290 injuries are also tied to faulty Takata inflators and at least 26 deaths worldwide.

Honda said the 2002 Civic had been under a recall since December 2011 for replacement of the driver’s frontal airbag inflator, while the passenger’s frontal airbag inflator was recalled in 2014.

Honda sent more than 15 mailed recall notices over eight years to registered owners of the vehicle before the crash and made other attempts to contact owners. The driver killed was not the registered owner and Honda said it was not certain if the driver was aware of the unrepaired recalls.

The most recent previous fatal confirmed US incident was the June 2018 death of a driver after the crash of a 2002 Honda Civic in Buckeye, Arizona.

The Takata recalls cover about 100 million inflators among 19 major automakers worldwide, including about 63 million inflators in the US.

NHTSA says the cause of inflator explosions that can emit deadly fragments is propellant breaking down after long-term exposure to high temperature fluctuations and humidity.

In August, Honda agreed to pay $85 million to settle an investigation by most US states into its use of defective Takata inflators.


Researchers say new model shows Turkish inflation well above official tally

Updated 22 October 2020

Researchers say new model shows Turkish inflation well above official tally

  • Since last year, opposition lawmakers have raised questions about the accuracy of official inflation data
  • Year-on-year inflation was 11.75% according to the official tally announced earlier this month

ISTANBUL: Turkish monthly inflation was more than triple the official rate in September, according to a new model developed by a group of academics and researchers based on more frequent data than the government statistics office.
Veysel Ulusoy, a professor at an Istanbul-based university and head of the independent Inflation Research Group (ENAG), said the model collects “several times more” price data than the official Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) tally, and is meant to complement it.
Since last year, opposition lawmakers have raised questions about the accuracy of official inflation data, arguing that the published rate was lower than the market realities.
According to ENAG’s first published finding, consumer prices in September rose 3.61% from the previous month, compared to TUIK’s calculation of 0.97% increase.
Year-on-year inflation was 11.75% according to the official tally announced earlier this month. ENAG has not yet published a year-on-year figure.
TUIK was not immediately available for comment.
“We observed price differences and volatility in almost all groups in the basket,” Ulusoy said in an interview. ENAG brings together academics from multiple Turkish universities.
“TUIK collects 550,000 prices for all the basket items in a month. ENAG calculations include several times more than that, constructing a richer set of data,” Ulusoy said.
Turkish annual inflation has remained in double digits this year despite a sharp economic contraction in the second quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic. High prices and a record low lira prompted the central bank to raise interest rates last month, and it is expected to hike again on Thursday.
The ENAG model can calculate inflation as frequently as every hour, meaning it can fill gaps for researchers and investors, Ulusoy said. It weighs items in the same way as TUIK, but excludes price data from health, education spending and alcoholic drinks.
The September calculation showed that school-related items had the most price spikes including computers, tablets and mobile phones, as well as children’s’ clothing and some agricultural goods.
Ulusoy said the ENAG model showed that tablets and computer prices were up more than 30% in September from August due to school reopenings, while TUIK put these items at around 4% month-on-month.
Last year opposition parties submitted parliamentary questions to Finance Minister Berat Albayrak over claims that TUIK tweaked inflation data for political reasons, claims dismissed as groundless by the head of the institute.