US: Takata increasing production of airbag inflator replacement kits image

The Japanese auto safety parts supplier has told the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration it’s struggling to raise production of airbag inflator replacement kits – but it will need many more months before addressing all the recalls.

The airbags produced by Takata, included in cars from 10 major automakers, have been found to be prone to early wear in areas of high humidity, with the airbag’s inflator possibly exploding with too much force and thus sending metal shrapnel flying inside the cabin at high speed.

The NHTSA issued a notice that urged owners of 7.8 million vehicles to report for repairs after accidents linked to the airbag issue led to four deaths and more than 30 injuries since 2009. According to NHTSA’s documents posted on the agency’s website, Takata said mid-September that through August only 132,000 replacement airbag inflator kits were produced. Now, the Japanese company expects to have built 830,000 units by the end of the current month. The only thing is that the necessary target is of at least 4.34 million and Takata expects to have just 1.47 million replacement kits by February. Takata spokesman Alby Berman has commented on the figures, saying that the Japanese firm has continuously increased the production levels and an updated schedule with new figures could come as soon as this week.