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Toyota Seeks More Suppliers For Airbag Inflators After Takata Recall

takata airbag recall

The massive Takata airbag recall was one of the largest in the auto industry and Toyota is now hedging its bets with longtime supplier. Toyota reportedly may ask three other suppliers to make airbag inflators to install as the car manufacturer repairs nearly 2.9 million vehicles.

Last month, Toyota told the government that it plans to use suppliers other than Takata for around 23 percent of the inflators it will need to repair approximately 2.9 million vehicles in the United States. Globally, Toyota has recalled 12 million vehicles for defective Takata airbags. The defective Takata airbags have forced the recall of 34 million vehicles globally, according to Forbes.

Reuters reported that Toyota has asked Nippon Kayaku Co. to increase its production to supply about 13 million inflators in the future with a supply that will run from July 2016 to 2020. This move will reduce its risk from potentially flawed airbag inflators supplied by Takata.

This decision is the most proactive made by the 10 manufacturers affected by the massive recall.

If Toyota does switch to Nippon Kayaku inflators it will start by replacing the high-risk Takata inflators, or the older ones, before proceeding to newer inflators.

The decision will not prevent Toyota from buying Takata inflators. Instead, it’s a move designed to “maintain business and reduce risk,” Takaki Nakanishi, chief executive of Nakanishi Research Institute, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Toyota wouldn’t want its business with Takata to disappear… This is a strategy where it’s trying to maintain business and reduce risk. As for Takata, even if its inflator business shrinks, it can certainly still survive as an airbag maker if it buys inflators from other companies.

Takata airbag inflators were linked to 8 deaths and over 100 injuries after exploding with too great of force and spraying shrapnel. Automakers, including Toyota, are bearing the high cost of the recalls while the cause of the problem is investigated.

Back in February, Takata was hit with a $14,000 a day fine by the U.S. government until it complied with federal demands for additional information on the fatal airbags.

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