Newly released documents show a years-long pattern of deception at Takata Corp. amid growing concerns about the safety of its airbag inflators.
The New York Times, citing a report by a Senate panel released this week, said that the embattled Japanese company presented false test data to Honda more than a year after recalls of its inflators began.
Honda, which was formerly Takata's largest customer, dropped the company late last year amid allegations that Takata "manipulated and misrepresented" testing data, but Honda officials did not elaborate at the time.
Internal documents in the Senate committee's report also referred to manufacturing problems as early as 2006 and indicated that a later recall was determined using incorrect data.
Tens of millions of vehicles equipped with Takata inflators were recalled around the world beginning in 2008 because they can explode and send metal fragments into vehicle interiors. At least 10 deaths — including nine in the U.S. — are blamed on the defect, and federal transportation officials said that the recall is likely to expand.
An investigation ordered by 10 automakers this week confirmed long-standing suspicions that the ammonium nitrate used to trigger the airbags, absent a drying agent, could degrade and spark explosions when exposed to moisture and heat.
Takata reportedly planned to alleviate massive recall costs by cooperating with Japanese automakers, but Honda Motor Co. President Takahiro Hachigo said that the company does not plan to help rescue the embattled company.