Toyota has apparently filed and order for 13 million airbag inflators from small provider Nippon Kayaku, a long time competitor of Takata Corp. These are to be delivered to Toyota throughout a period spanning between July 2016 and 2020, according to sources which have knowledge of the deal.
This happens in the wake of the biggest automotive recall in history, after tens of millions of cars were deemed unsafe after it was proven that the Takata airbags were unsafe due to the high force applied when exploding, being linked to several deaths and numerous injuries. U.S. lawmakers have ordered all of the cars equipped with the company’s airbags – a staggering 50 million vehicles – off the road, in a move which prejudiced a lot of car makers and the company itself.
Apparently, Nippon Kayaku has a better alternative to the high-risk inflators, offering a newer technology which presents little to no driver or passenger danger. The company would proceed to sequentially switch over recalled vehicles to the new airbags and also equip future cars with them. Takata has confirmed the fact that a number of factors, ranging from heat exposure to humidity, could make airbags manufactured by the company deploy too violently, and that the risk is bigger in older models.
Toyota has reportedly asked Nippon Kayaku as a consequence to expand its automotive production so as to meet its demand; the Japanese company is broadly a chemical/pharmaceutical manufacturer, with its automotive branch being just a secondary business up until now. Shares of Nippon Kayaku have gone up after the news broke by as much as 2.9 per cent, but they fell again as uncertainty over the veracity of the information started to circulate.
Toyota itself has had to recall over 12 million vehicles using Takata technology, both a budget hole and an image hit. Too add to its woes, the company was criticized by both regulators and pundits worldwide on how slowly it acted with a former recall of its own.
However, despite the news bringing up Kayaku as a replacement for Takata, the sources which broke the news claim that Toyota does not want to finish its business with latter, but only to reduce risk for its customers. At the same time Takata, would need to buy airbag inflators for other companies to use on its own airbags – a hard hit but definitely survivable.
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