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Takata about to fall as airbag recall costs mount, reports say

By Barry Park, 16 Jun 2017 Industry

Takata airbag recall about to file for bankruptcy protection_wide

The weight of fixing faulty airbags in more than 100 million cars worldwide - about two million of them in Australia - appears to be taking its toll

TAKATA, the company behind the world’s largest car-related recall, is believed to be on the edge of collapse, reports say.

Bloomberg has reported that the 84-year-old Japanese airbag maker is expected to file for bankruptcy protection in Japan as early as next week as it struggles to replace faulty airbags in about 100 million cars globally.

In Australia, about two million cars are affected by the recall that covers brands as low-end as the Nissan Tiida and high-end as the Ferrari FF grand tourer, while the faulty airbags – which can either split or shoot shrapnel at the people they are supposed to save – are linked to at least 17 deaths in the US. One Australian woman was severely injured in April in the first Takata-related case recorded here.

Ferrari FF affected by Takata recall in Australia
It is not known what a potential bankruptcy will mean for Australian cars affected by the recall.

Takata has already agreed to pay a $US1 billion ($A1.3 billion) fine in the US as part of a settlement with road safety authorities.

The Australian Government has listed more than 60 separate recalls for cars affected by the Takata recall here, some of which were sold almost two decades ago, although some recalls were reissued after it was found that other airbags in the vehicle other than just the one in front of the driver could also be affected.

The most recent recalls relate to cars sold last year, despite the first signs of the defective airbags surfacing in 2008, and a wider recall rolling out in 2013.

Takata has struggled financially since the scandal broke, posting a string of heavy losses since 2013. It is believed to be carrying more than $US9 billion in debt.

Bloomberg reported the troubled Japanese airbag maker could possibly be taken over by a Chinese-owned US rival, which would then help to pay for a restructure of the company.