Embattled airbag maker Takata Corp faced a further blow yesterday, after automaker Nissan Motor Co followed Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co in deciding to cease its use of the crisis-hit company’s airbag inflators.
Nissan said that it will no longer use inflators that contain ammonium nitrate following an announcement from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which announced up to US$200 million in penalties against Takata and criticized the Tokyo-based firm over a years-long deception over the safety of its airbags.
Takata’s airbag defect can cause them to deploy with explosive force, sending metal shrapnel hurtling toward drivers and passengers. The exploding airbags have been linked with eight deaths and scores of injures.
On Friday, Takata reported a six-month net loss of ￥5.6 billion (US$45 million) as costs stemming from the crisis pile up.
“In line with the recent announcement from the US’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration we have decided to no longer use inflators containing ammonium nitrate in airbags for future models,” Nissan said.
“We will continue to put our customers’ safety first and work to replace the inflators in vehicles under recall as quickly as possible,” it said.
In related news, Renault SA’s advisory board on Friday said that it wants to strengthen its alliance with Nissan after the Japanese automaker voiced concern over the French government increasing its voting rights in the French firm.
In a statement, Renault said it wanted to see a solution “reinforcing the alliance” with Nissan, with whom it has been linked for the past 16 years.
The 19-member advisory board said that they had held talks with Renault’s two main long-term shareholders, the French government and Nissan, to allay Japanese concerns.
The French government raised its stake in Renault to 19.7 percent this year, effectively denying the Japanese company a say in how the business is operated.
It also prompted Nissan’s chief competitive officer Hiroto Saikawa to say his company had expressed its concerns to both the French and Japanese governments.
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