US turns up heat on Takata over air bag problem

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DETROIT — U.S. safety regulators are now playing hardball with Takata Corp. as they investigate a possibly deadly defect in some of the Japanese company’s air bags.

Regulators are ordering Takata to provide reams of information about air bags that can explode with too much force, blowing apart canisters and sending metal shards into drivers and passengers.

An order sent Thursday to Takata demands information on production mistakes and lawsuit settlements, as well as any information on deaths or injuries that the company has received.

Ten automakers have recalled nearly 8 million vehicles equipped with potentially faulty Takata air bag inflators. Safety advocates say the problem has caused four fatalities.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating and could expand the recall, which is limited to cars in high-humidity southern states.

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