The Transport Ministry in Japan announced this Friday that carmakers will recall an added 7 million cars that are equipped with Takata air bag inflators by March 2019. This makes the total number of recalled cars worldwide reach 19.6 million vehicles.
Japan’s move to increase the number of cars in the Takata Corp recall for faulty airbags could only add more costs to the car parts supplier if it is found responsible. At the moment, Takata is looking for potential investors that would take it out of its current bad situation, and the private equity firm KKR & Co. has expressed interest. Takata shares have already risen from from $1.80 per share to $9.26 after Japan’s Nikkei reported that KKR is taking into account restructuring Takata amid the claims against it for 13 deaths and over 100 injuries worldwide.
The Transport Ministry explained that Takata and carmakers found that the absence of desiccants (a substance that causes dryness) could make the ammonium nitrate that is used in the air bag inflators degrade when exposed to temperature changes over periods of time. The addition of 7 million cars to the Takata recall comes after the U.S. transport authorities decided to expand the recall of air bag inflators made by the Japanese supplier, resulting in an additional 35-40 million products being withdrawn from the U.S. market.
This recall will mostly cover passenger-side airbags and will take place in stages. The ministry said that it would not reveal what carmakers are affected by it but that the number of automakers would increase from the current 17 that are going through the recall process at the moment.