Japan’s Takata Corp, the global auto safety parts supplier at the center of a growing worldwide safety crisis, has moved to enforce stricter quality controls on a cluster of its own parts suppliers, according to sources.
The auto safety components company is currently in the midst of speeding up production of replacement kits to address the recalls of defective airbags that have affected millions of cars around the globe. Since 2008, at least ten automakers have recalled more than 20 million autos across all regions because of potentially defective airbag inflators. They could explode with too much force if an accident occurs, endangering the people inside by spraying metal debris at high velocity inside the cabin. The deadly fault, with five fatalities linked to it so far, has attracted intense scrutiny from US regulators – where most of the recalls have taken place – with investigations from both the US safety agencies and a criminal probe by federal prosecutors.
According to people that have knowledge of the matter, but asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the proceedings, say Takata has initiated a string of “urgent” inspections in the last couple of months, focusing its scrutiny on the company’s supply network. Takata even sent managers to the parts distributors in Japan and Asia to enforce changes. One of the sources further detailed that during a closed-door meeting in Japan back in October between Takata Managers and more than 100 suppliers, the company said people would be dispatched to oversee 40 suppliers of critical components before the year’s end – while the rest would also be audited next year.