By on May 4, 2016

Takata TTAC Style

Maybe 2016 isn’t Takata’s year.

The airbag manufacturer at the heart of the largest automotive safety recall in history is poised to double the number of airbag inflators it needs to fix, Reuters reports.

A number of people close to the issue said the beleaguered company will soon announce a massive expansion in the scope of the recall, which has already seen 28.8 million airbag inflators recalled in vehicles from 14 automakers. Another 35 to 40 million units require fixing, the sources say.

The new recall will cover all front airbags that don’t contain a drying agent — an issue linked to past incidents resulting in death.

The recalls began last year after it was revealed that some Takata airbag inflators could explode with too much force, spraying metal shrapnel into a motorist’s face during airbag deployment. At least 10 deaths and 100 injuries in the U.S. are linked to the faulty inflators, with hot, humid climates posing the highest risk of malfunction.

Takata has until 2019 to prove to U.S. regulators that all of its airbag inflators are safe.

The company’s spokesperson, Jared Levy, stated, “Takata is working with regulators and our automaker customers to develop long-term, orderly solutions.”

While 40 million is a big number, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the final tally could be double that number.

The scandal and its associated costs have crippled Takata’s finances, with its stock taking a beating following the news of a looming recall. Last month, a source at the company said a worst-case scenario (a recall of every airbag) would cost Takata $24 billion — a penalty it can’t afford.

Bloomberg reports that Takata is seeking financial sponsors to boost its capital, and ultimately save the company. Their plan is to reform the business, likely under a new name.

In the wake of the scandal, many of the world’s largest automakers dropped Takata as a supplier.

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21 Comments on “The Biggest Safety Recall in History is About to Get Way, Way Bigger...”

  • avatar

    Honda bloodshed continues.

    • 0 avatar

      Bloodshed continues elsewhere as well.

      But has anyone ever determined why the Takata air bags made in Mexico were the only ones affected?

      Takata makes airbags all over the planet, and AFAIK, none of those are affected.

      • 0 avatar

        HDC …..On numorious occasions you have mentioned that the GM ignition scandal, was an example of GM creating ” killing machines” . …. Fair enough , your entitled to your opinion. My question , and the point , that I believe that Norm was trying to make. Was Honda showing total disregard to human life, with the use of Takata air bags ?

        You also mentioned that it was only the Mexican made air bags that were defective. I can’t count the number of comments you have made , advocating that all manufacturing should be done in Mexico ?

        • 0 avatar

          Hey mikey, maybe I should have phrased my question differently.

          “Was it ever determined what caused these particular airbags to be defective as opposed to other similar airbags made in different plants with the same chemical compound at other locations around the world?”

          I believe that Honda, and others, operated in good faith when installing the Takata airbags and airbags made by other manufacturers. They had no reasonable expectation to suspect that the Takata airbags were defective.

          Hence my question, since all airbags use the same DOT-approved chemical propellant.
          Am I a proponent of moving more production for the US to Mexico? Overwhelmingly and emphatically yes!

          US economic and tax policy is not conducive to manufacturing in the US and union harassment can easily drive a manufacturer into the financial grave.

          I would be in favor of moving more production for the US to Canada as well.

          And at one time the US did that. But these days, even with NAFTA, Mexico allows for greater profits for producers, and levies a lower tax and labor-expense burden on American manufacturers.

          China, Viet Nam, Honduras, India, and the like, are also good options but there is the added cost of transportation to consider that affect profitability for a manufacturer.

          We’ll never be able to do ALL manufacturing outside of the US. But I have been a direct beneficiary of stuff made outside of the US that allowed me to live my life in Wal-Mart fashion.

          Had that same stuff been made in the US, I would not have been able to afford it.

          • 0 avatar

            “…I would be in favor of moving more production for the US to Canada as well…”

            Well, expect more people to line up for US government assistance, unemployment, and to show up in emergency rooms from anything from gunshot wounds to sore throats.

            And expect people on the right to b!tch about the “massive government”.

  • avatar

    Any word on those affected?
    Don’t really mind pulling fuses on the FS BOFs if needed.

  • avatar

    My best friend here in Florida, and night time tennis companion, is the lead attorney for Takata.
    Not been having a good week.
    Then again, he has made a living out of defending the big bad corporate wolves. You know…the evil big corp.

    Me? I have never liked airbags. From day one I have been against putting an explosive device in the face of passengers.
    Another example of our government out to save our souls.

    Funny, well maybe not “funny”, is how our legal system will not even allow into evidence somebody hurt in an accident wasn’t wearing a seatbelt…but they can sue over airbags and for every other damned thing. But their not following the law? Well, no, that ain’t iportant.

  • avatar

    There have been a total of 11 deaths from faulty Takata airbags over the last decade. All regrettable.

    But just for perspective, 32,000 people in the US will die in a car accident this year, meaning that were you to die in a car crash, you would have a one-thousandth of one percent chance that your death would be caused by a faulty airbag.

    And keep in mind that while miles driven are way up from a generation ago, deaths from car accidents are half what they were. So yes, yet another instance of intrusive government regulation.

    • 0 avatar

      don’t be bringin that rational, perspective thinkin round here.

    • 0 avatar

      No not intrusive government regulation. Just from comments here, some drivers will disable their air bags and be more likely to be injured because of inoperative air bag. Almost nobody would disable airbags if airbags were replaced with not grenading units. Maybe more than future deaths from disabling airbags than from Takata Airbag actually grenading? Unknown.

      Takata high probability to go bankrupt if things continue this way. Honda would be more on the hook for repair cost than other car makers as they sold more Takata cars. I have one. No, we do not need to government bail out Takata and Honda. That would be intrusive government overreach.

  • avatar

    I have a feeling my M is going to fall under the expansion of the recall. It already affected the 06-07 ones.

    And while it’s in the shop I want a Q70L AWD.

  • avatar

    Add Volkswagen to the list. Just received the recall notification in the mail today for the wife’s 2013 Passat. Ironically, I’m taking it in for a separate, airbag related recall tomorrow (broken clockspring, which renders everything not steering related about the steering wheel dead). Since it is a TDI, and probably subject to the buyback, this is yet another reason not to keep this particular car.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Still waiting for my passenger air bag to come in for my Subaru. But I should be more patient. It’s only been since early January that it was ordered.

    Also still waiting on the leaf spring for my Tacoma. That’s only been a month though.

    • 0 avatar

      I waited for a month for my airbag replacement for my 08 Outback. Then it became a hassle to leave the front passenger seat empty while I waited, so I called Subaru HQ and they paid for a car rental in the meantime.

      Miraculously, the parts came in and was installed within 2 days. Funny how having to pay for a rental for me bumps me up the waiting list of 300+ people at my dealer.

  • avatar

    What percent of cars sold in the last 15 years are affected? 50%? At some point you shrug it off and act like we just didn’t know how to make airbags properly until now, and everyone using an older one has a slight chance of spontaneously being killed.

    And who’s paying for it? I have a hard time believing Takata is actually able to.

  • avatar

    Takata should at least offer up some spiffy, Kevlar-reinforced turtleneck sweaters until this is sorted.

  • avatar

    This episode highlights the vital importance of suppliers in automobile manufacturing.

  • avatar

    Product recalls are quite common but when it comes to safety equipment, such an unpleasant situation causes panic amongst consumers and will eventually cause public distrust. However, a recall is still necessary in order to prevent unwanted circumstances to happen to users.

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