Takata to Partner With Rival Supplier to Produce Replacement Inflators
Company will ask Japanese automakers for help.
Now faced with another huge recall, embattled Japanese supplier Takata is turning to its competition for help. According to a report from Reuters, Takata is looking to pair up with long-time rival Daicel Corp. to help produce replacement airbag inflators. In addition, Takata is asking Japanese automakers for financial support.
An unnamed source told Reuters of the partnership, which comes after nearly 50 million cars with Takata airbags have been recalled. Takata is reportedly struggling to supply the needed replacement parts and is asking Daicel, which already supplies Takata with some components, to help pick up the slack.
"We are discussing ways to work with Takata to supply safe [airbag] inflators, although we have not decided on any details," a Daicel spokesman told Reuters.
Takata would not comment on the possibility of a partnership.
The reports follow Friday's announcement of a new recall affecting around 5 million vehicles. That recall was prompted by a death in a Ford Ranger linked to faulty Takata inflators and metal shrapnel. The incident is the 10th known fatality related to the defective parts and the first death to occur in a vehicle other than a Honda.
If Takata is found to be responsible for the inflators, the company will have to pay for the tens of millions of recalls. Experts have estimated the cost of replacing airbags at around $100 per vehicle. In addition, the company faces a U.S. investigation and a number of class action suits. The supplier will reportedly ask its automaker customers for pricing support next week when it must answer for the results of an inquiry into the defective parts. In an effort to make amends, Takata will also announce the resignations of certain top executives, possibly including Shigehisa Takada, the president and grandson of the company's founder.
Given that many automakers have dropped Takata as a supplier, it's uncertain how much support they'll be willing to lend. Honda has taken the biggest hit from the recalls, as it was Takata's top customer.
Pictured is an airbag in a 2016 Nissan Altima, which is not subject to a recall.