The Japanese auto safety supplier is dealing with an unprecedented crisis: 10 automakers have recalled millions of cars since 2008 to replace airbags that instead of saving lives, endanger them.
No less than 7.8 million vehicles have been recalled in the US alone in 2013 and 2014 because potentially defective airbag inflators could explode with too much force and can send shrapnel flying through the cabin at high velocity. The NHTSA cautioned owners to hasten their decision to make the service trip to address the recall (which triggered a meltdown of its recall-related website) and carmakers such as Toyota and GM asked owners to refrain from taking a passenger on the front seat.
The safety regulator has repeatedly asked the Japanese firm to pick up the pace for the production of the necessary airbag repair kits, and even said that Takata should be open to collaboration with its competitors – tapping them to build the necessary inflators. As it turns out, the rivals – well, at least two of them, TRW Automotive and Autoliv – acknowledge the safety implications of the Takata debacle and their respective CEOs said they’re now gaining business. They are also willing to lift inflator production and help Takata hasten the airbag replacement process.