Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Air bag maker claims bankruptcy

Japan's airbag giant Takata files for bankruptcy Air bag maker claims bankruptcy
Debra Rodriguez | 27 June, 2017, 08:45

Japan's crisis-hit vehicle parts maker Takata said Monday it has filed for bankruptcy protection and its chief executive would quit, after a deadly airbag defect triggered the auto industry's biggest ever safety recall.

The auto parts supplier is in the midst of a global recall of faulty air bag inflators that have affected 42 million vehicles across 19 automakers and are linked to at least 11 deaths in the United States alone.

TK Holdings, Takata's U.S. operations, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in DE on Sunday with liabilities of US$10 to 50 billion, while the Japanese parent filed for protection with the Tokyo District Court early on Monday, Reuters reported on Monday.

Takata faces billions in lawsuits and recall-related costs to its clients, including Honda, BMW, Toyota Motor Corp (TM.N), which have been paying recall costs to date.

In one of Japan's biggest bankruptcies, Takata is facing tens of billions of dollars in costs and liabilities resulting from nearly a decade of recalls and lawsuits. It pleaded guilty to federal wiretapping charges in February and agreed to pay a $1 billion fine.

Key Safety, headquartered in Sterling Heights, Mich., said it would purchase almost most of Takata's global assets and operations in a deal worth almost $1.6 billion.

The Japanese auto parts maker has struggled to stay afloat amid lawsuits and recall costs over its deadly air bag inflators. At least 16 deaths and about 180 injuries worldwide have been linked to the defect. Its shares were suspended Monday because they're going to be delisted, the Tokyo Stock Exchange said.

The Takata bankruptcy will take some time to resolve.

The inflator recall, which is being done in phases to prioritize the riskiest vehicles, affects 46 million driver- and front passenger-side inflators in 29 million vehicles in the USA after a massive expansion a year ago.

But even if Takata will have to give up its brand, Miyao said that the worst-case scenario, where carmakers will have to halt production due to a disruption in the supply of air bags, will likely be avoided. But the safety devices relied on a faulty inflator that when activated can explode and send shrapnel into the vehicle. By many estimates, the crisis could cost Takata $10 billion before all is said and done. Notably, the sale will not include certain Takata operations surrounding ammonium nitrate airbag inflators that led to recalls around the globe.

Around 100 million airbags, including about 70 million in the United States, are subject to the massive recall.

As of May 26, only 38 percent of the air bag inflators under recall in the U.S. had been repaired, according to data on the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. Drowning in a sea of lawsuits and recall costs, Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp.is expected to seek bankruptcy.

Another $125 million will go to victims and Takata will pay a $25 million fine to the US government.

The company was filing for bankruptcy in order for a deal with Key Safety Systems Inc to go through.

Takada said he and top management would resign "when the timing of the restructuring is set".

"I've been told by others that I should leave [discussion of the scandal] to a committee of outside experts and that it would be inappropriate for me to comment or give my personal opinion", Takada said.

More than 100m cars with Takata airbags, including around 70m vehicles in the USA, have been recalled since concerns started being flagged back in 2007.

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