Takata Rivals to Make Most Air-Bag Inflator Replacements

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Takata Corp., the company whose faulty air bags are behind a record vehicle-safety recall, is depending on three of its key competitors to produce the majority of millions of replacement parts.

By March, Autoliv Inc., Daicel Corp. and ZF TRW Automotive will make about 68 percent of the inflators used to repair recalled vehicles, according to a letter sent by Takata to U.S. regulators. The three companies produced about 50 percent of the inflators for replacement kits in June, Takata said.

The disclosure was part of responses by automakers and air-bag suppliers last month to questions by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on the progress of the safety recalls. More than 40 million vehicles have been recalled worldwide as a result of Takata air-bag inflators that rupture during deployment, a defect linked to eight deaths and more than 130 injuries.

Takata’s shares rose 1.7 percent at the close in Tokyo. Autoliv’s depositary receipts climbed as much as 3.5 percent and advanced 2.2 percent as of 10:42 a.m. in Stockholm.

The automakers affected by the crisis are reducing their dependence on Takata even as they work with the Tokyo-based company to identify the root cause of the defect.

Honda Motor Co., which needs to replace about 24.5 million inflators, said last year it would shift to buying them from Autoliv and Daicel. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said it has turned to TRW permanently for an alternate inflator design.

Toyota Motor Corp., which has recalled about 12 million vehicles globally, is now getting driver-side inflators from a supplier other than Takata, the company said in a separate letter last month to NHTSA.

Mazda Motor Corp. said it’s reached an agreement with Daicel to supply air bag inflators, and Nissan Motor Co. said it’s also working with the Japanese parts maker on developing replacement components.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.’s Subaru also said in their letters to NHTSA that they’re looking to alternative suppliers and haven’t reached agreements.

TRW estimates it could make 10 to 15 million replacement inflators per year using its spare capacity, according to its letter to NHTSA. Autoliv has estimated it will supply as many as 20 million replacement inflators in 2015 and 2016.

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