General Motors Preferred to Save a Few Bucks Per Airbag Despite Dangerous Risk to Consumers

According to a New York Times article published yesterday, two decades ago automakers, including General Motors (GM), chose to purchase cheaper airbags from a Japanese supplier, Takata. GM gave its then current airbag supplier, (a Swedish-American company) Autoliv a chance to keep its lucrative business if they would match Takata's price for an airbag, which cost about one-third less.

Autoliv tested Takata's airbag and determined that it relied on a dangerous volatile chemical compound - ammonium nitrate - which causes the airbag to expand explosively. Autoliv refused to use the cheaper ammonium nitrate in their airbags because testing revealed "that when the airbag was detonated, the gas is generated so fast, it blows the inflater to bits".  Autoliv refused to compromise on safety and lost its GM account to Takata 20 years ago.

Ammonium nitrate and pure callous greed are the reasons for the largest auto safety recall in history. Available studies of ammonium nitrate from more than 20 years ago warned of its volatility when exposed to moisture or temperature changes. The NYT reports: "At least 14 people have been killed and more than 100 have been injured by faulty inflaters made by Takata. More than 100 million of its airbags have been installed in cars in the United States by General Motors and 16 other manufacturers." 

The NYT ironically notes that we are still exposed to an unnecessary risk. "Even with the record recall. deadly accidents and research critical of ammonium nitrate, Takata continues to manufacture airbags with the compound-and automakers continue to buy them."  Don't be surprised--think asbestos, tobacco, and the like. Worse, airbag safety design, according to this NYT article, is set by a trade association of automakers, not the federal government. Why, you ask? Can we trust the automakers with our safety given this track record?

If you have been injured by an airbag, call Ron Burke at 212-808-8008 for a free consultation.

Ronald C. Burke, Esq

Trial Attorney with 30+ Years of Experience Attorney Ronald C. Burke, Esq. has more than 30 years of experience and has focused his career on representing clients in cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice and legal malpractice. He is a seasoned trial lawyer and has won many seven-figure settlements and verdicts for his clients over the years, including many case victories listed among the largest in the history of the New York State. He has been featured in the news and is a regular lecturer for the New York County Lawyers Association, as well as having lectured before the New York State Bar Association. Ron is also an attorney with Kelner & Kelner, a New York personal injury law firm. Awards and Accolades Mr. Burke's awards and accolades are many. Among them, he has been included in New York Super Lawyers® each year since 2010, and he has received the highest-possible AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®. Verdict Search, a part of the New York Law Journal, frequently recognizes his notable successes after winning some of the highest settlements and verdicts in past years. He was also featured in their list of the "Top New York Verdicts " and "Top New York Settlements." He is a member of the New York State Bar Association and is licensed to practice law in the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, as well as before the United States Supreme Court. When Attorney Burke is not handling legal malpractice cases, he is highly involved in the local community. He was a member of the Village of Rockville Centre Volunteer Fire Department, has served on the local school board and as Chairman of the local Zoning Board. Learn more about Attorney Burke and how he can skillfully handle your malpractice case by contacting the Law Offices of Ronald C. Burke, Esq. right away to schedule your complimentary case evaluation. Our firm is here to help! Contact a New York Legal Malpractice Attorney Our firm provides each client's case with thorough preparation and aggressive representation, ensuring that you win the best possible results for your case whether it is settled or goes to trial. As a seasoned trial lawyer, Mr. Burke can provide the strong and relentless representation you need to establish negligence in a legal malpractice case and to recover any damages you may have suffered. Our firm can recover compensation for pre-trial and trial malpractice, violations of fee arrangements, loss of income, pain and suffering, and much more. Contact us today!


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