Takata Says It Is Subject of U.S. Criminal Probe Over Air Bags

Japan's Takata Corp is the subject of a U.S. criminal investigation over potentially defective car air bags that have been linked to five deaths, a spokesman said on Thursday. The news comes as Honda disclosed a fifth fatality, this time in Malaysia, linked to the air bags. The automaker widened its recall by another 170,000 vehicles, taking its total global recall to about 10 million vehicles. All five deaths have been in Honda autos.

A federal grand jury in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has subpoenaed Takata's U.S. unit to produce documents related to air bag defects, the Takata spokesman said. The investigation into the Japanese safety-parts maker by federal prosecutors had been previously reported, but Thursday's statement is the first indication that a seated grand jury was seeking evidence.The National Highway Transport Safety Administration (NHTSA) has also issued a special order demanding documents and other evidence related to air bag defects. Takata has until Dec. 1 to comply with that order. The company disclosed the probe in a closed-door meeting with financial analysts, according to an account from one participant.

Massive Takata Air Bag Recall Escalates 1:29


-- Reuters and NBC News