Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Airbag maker Takata brand disappears as CEO quits, firm taken over by US company


Former Takada chief executive Shigehisa Takada attends a news conference in Tokyo on Nov. 4, 2015.

Photo: AP

Japan’s Takata Corp yesterday said its chief had formally resigned after the completion of a takeover by a US firm, bringing the curtain down on the crisis-hit brand tainted by a deadly airbag scandal.

The takeover resulted in the extinction of the 85-year-old Takata brand, with chief executive officer Shigehisa Takada’s grandfather having started the company in 1933 as a textile maker.

“We again express sincere apologies to our customers, creditors, shareholders and many others for the great deal of inconvenience related to our airbags,” Takata said in a statement announcing the resignation.

Takata’s name is now synonymous with the deadly airbag scandal that affected almost every major global automaker, including Toyota Motor Corp and General Motors Co, and triggered the auto industry’s biggest-ever safety recall.

In June last year, the company filed for bankruptcy protection with liabilities reportedly exceeding ¥1 trillion (US$9.35 billion).

Takata faces lawsuits and huge costs over the defect blamed for 21 deaths, including some cases still under investigation, a company spokeswoman said.

The company’s operations — not including the airbag business linked to the scandal — have now been taken over by US-based auto parts maker Key Safety Systems (KSS) Inc.

KSS, which has been renamed Joyson Safety Systems after the takeover, paid an estimated US$1.58 billion for the purchase.

The airbag defect was linked to a chemical, ammonium nitrate, used as a propellant in Takata’s airbag inflator canisters.

The chemical degraded, especially in humid conditions, meaning that, in some cases, the airbag did not inflate properly and sometimes ruptured, firing metal shrapnel at the vehicle’s occupants.

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