Takata Corp. is getting ready to recall at another 35 million – 40 million air-bag inflaters that U.S. regulators have deemed a safety risk due to explosion fears. This is only the latest blow to the ailing Japanese supplier following several deaths from defective products. The air bags can rupture and spray shrapnel, a safety defect linked to 11 deaths globally and dozens of injuries.
The expansion of what was already the nation’s largest auto recall is due to be announced later Wednesday by Mark Rosekind, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
At least 10 U.S. deaths have been linked to the airbag problems, which can explode and send shrapnel onto the faces and necks of victims. The airbags are spread across 22 different brands of cars and trucks. Honda Motor (HMC) has the most cars with the faulty airbags.
Exactly how much the recalls will ultimately cost Takata remains unclear. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the American regulator, has said 100 million airbags may eventually need to be fixed in the United States alone.
Takata still controls about 30 percent of the airbag market, and some automakers in Japan, like Honda, have become especially reliant on it. Takata is also a major supplier of seatbelts. If it collapsed suddenly, some carmakers’ assembly lines would halt.
More than a dozen auto makers are currently recalling vehicles equipped with Takata air bags in one of the largest such actions in U.S. history.