Auto safety parts supplier Takata Corp., implicated in one of the largest auto safety crises in recent years and its Japanese auto making clients are today increasingly growing apart after years of successful commercial “marriage.”
The uneasy reliance is characterized by the recent strategy clash – with the automakers expanding numerous recalls that have not been recognized by the supplier – but all of them are unable to shed their previous deals without facing the idea of potential cost increases and costly court wars. For example, Honda – Takata’s largest client to date – last week pitched its latest model through an unusual marketing approach – it’s fuel efficient, has ample cargo space and no airbags from Takata. The Japanese supplier has been at the center of a mounting global auto safety crisis that has affected ten automakers and their brands since 2008. Around 36 million cars have been recalled so far – and the end of the crisis is still nowhere to be seen – since 2008 because of the potentially fatal airbag inflators that can explode with too much force and send metal debris and shrapnel inside the cabin at high velocity.
The ballooning of the safety campaigns, associated with the running costs, the criminal investigation and numerous court battles in the US and elsewhere have been pressing the bonds between the auto safety parts manufacturer and its main customers – Japan’s automakers, according to analysts, industry experts and even auto executives. The odd dynamics can also be seen from the automakers not being overly implicated in asking Takata to reshape itself, but they have been careful to award most of the new contracts to rivaling suppliers.