One of the biggest investors in Takata lost faith in the Japanese auto supplier company after the massive airbags scandal that involved around 40 million cars worldwide.
Takata’s predicament is getting even worse than already is, as Sawakami Asset Management – once a major investor in the Japanese automotive supplier company – sold the last of its Takata shares in early October, according to Bloomberg. At its peak, Sawakami’s holding reached 1.2 million shares, more than Honda Motor owns today. The loss of faith from the investor comes after the management did not want to shed some light over the circumstances that triggered the crisis. “We could not help feeling the management is not trustworthy,” fund manager Takahiro Kusakari said in an interview from his office in Tokyo. “We felt Takata had a ‘we are needed and our products are needed, so the business will come back and the situation won’t be that bad’ kind of attitude, downplaying the issue.”
Sawakami’s critique of how Takata has handled the crisis follows public criticism by Honda, the most important client for the supplier. Honda officials declared they were very concerned by evidence suggesting the company “misrepresented and manipulated test data for certain airbag inflators”. In response to Sawakami’s decision, Takata said in an e-mailed statement that “it is committed to maintaining regular, open dialog with investors as we work diligently to rebuild the trust of our automaker customers, regulators and the driving public”. The supplier of air bags, seat belts and child car seats said it understands the investors’ concerns and has made progress, “but there’s much more work to be done.”