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Will the Kobe Steel Scandal Lead to New Waves of Vehicle Recalls?

February 23rd, 2018 by Guajardo & Marks, LLP

A major provider of steel to hundreds of companies admitted late last year that it had falsified data on steel products sold to corporate giants such as Toyota and Boeing. Kobe Steel stated that up to 500 companies could be affected, including the manufacturers of bullet trains in Japan.

According to media reports, the scandal happened when Kobe employees wrote fake reports to make it appear that steel products met specifications for customers when they did not. The steel scandal first concerned aluminum and copper parts, but it then spread to steel components.

The scandal has raised doubts about the safety and integrity of thousand of tons of metal materials shipped over a 10-year span. For the copper and aluminum parts, false data was provided about their durability and strength.

Major Auto Manufacturers Affected, Among Others

Japanese automakers Toyota, Nissan and Honda have acknowledged that they have used Kobe steel in their vehicles, but they are still assessing what the ramifications are for their products.

Ford has stated that it found Kobe products in the hood of the Mondeo model sold in China, but it was not able to confirm whether they were sourced during the questionable period. Other large auto manufacturers, including GM and Mazda, have yet to find any suspect Kobe materials but are continuing to check their supply chains.

In the aerospace industry, Boeing and Mitsubishi have reported that they used Kobe parts with falsified data in some aircraft. But both companies believe that the parts do not present safety problems.

What Does This Mean For Vehicle Owners?

It is unclear whether the Kobe scandal will result in any recalls or safety problems with vehicles in the United States. The Kobe steel scandal is just the latest concern that motor vehicle owners have had to worry about in the last several years. Serious vehicle safety problems and recalls have been in the news that have led in some cases to serious injury and death.

One of the most serious auto recalls in history has involved Takata airbags. Vehicles made by 20 manufacturers have been recalled in the past several years to replace defective airbags on the driver’s and passenger’s sides. The airbags were made by major parts supplier Takata and were installed in cars, trucks and SUVs between 2002 and 2015. Some of the airbags have deployed with too much force and have killed at least 15 in the U.S. and injured dozens of others.

The NHTSA determined the cause of the problem is the ammonium nitrate-based propellant that does not have a chemical drying element. Environmental moisture, high air temperatures and age can cause the bag to inflate too quickly and even spray shrapnel into the passenger compartment.

If you are concerned that your vehicle may have been affected by the Takata recall, check the current list of affected vehicles published by NHTSA.

There have been other serious safety recalls in recent years, as well. If you or a loved one has been injured by a safety defect in one of these vehicles, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney.

Hurt By a Safety Defect in Your Vehicle? Contact Guajardo & Marks Today.

Were you hurt due to a safety defect or product defect in your vehicle? Our personal injury attorneys Guajardo & Marks are experienced with product liability and auto recall lawsuits. If you have suffered serious injuries due to an auto recall, you could be entitled to compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. Please contact our Dallas personal injury law office today at 972-774-9800 for a complimentary consultation.