The Takata airbags defect has resulted in a difficult time for several automakers who are forced to recall millions of vehicles in the US and elsewhere. The airbag systems supplied by the Japanese auto component major were found to be susceptible to spontaneous inflation due to defective ammonium nitrate-based propellants inside the airbag inflaters. It’s alleged that the company was aware of the defect and yet chose to sweep it under the rug.
The airbag inflaters in question may jump into action spontaneously, resulting in the airbags going off and shooting shrapnel into the cabin. Unfortunately, this defect has already claimed lives of 8 people, thereby warranting an immediate recall. The sheer number of replacement airbag inflaters required prompted the automakers to settle for compatible components manufactured by other brands.
Naturally, OEMs are now attempting to distance themselves from Takata as its safety reputation now stands tarnished. Honda lead the way by announcing that it may not use certain Takata airbag inflaters in their new models. Mazda too stated that it won’t use Takata’s ammonium nitrate-based airbag systems in the cars that are under development.
That’s not all. Mitsubishi joined the bandwagon by saying that it’s considering a different airbag supplier for its new products. Toyota wants safer and more reliable air bag inflaters but didn’t divulge its decision on retaining Takata as its vendor. Automakers from other parts of the world could also arrive at a similar decision.
Meanwhile, Takata is working on earning the trust of automakers for future inflaters. Road ahead for the auto comp manufacturer looks very challenging as a significant quantum of future business hangs in the balance. The stock prices of the company already fell by 25% yesterday.
Via – WSJ.com