Takata bankruptcy means air bag victims get less

Cornelia Mascio
Giugno 20, 2017

Legal experts say a bankruptcy filing by Japanese air bag maker Takata will leave little money for dozens of people who sued the company over deaths and injuries caused by exploding air bag inflators. Takata announced back in February it was holding negotiations to sell its business to Key Safety Systems based in Detroit, Michigan, which is owned by a company based in China.

According to Friday's reports in Japanese and global media, Takata would file for bankruptcy protection in Japan and then in the U.S. The sale of its business operations to Key Safety would take place after that. At least 16 people have died worldwide. Mounting liabilities from having to replace more than 100 million of the devices forced Takata to seek an acquirer that could help see through a costly restructuring. Late Friday the company released a statement that said all options continue to be considered for its restructuring and that there has yet to be any decision made of any kind. The company was awaiting the final proposal from the outside panel set up to oversee its restructuring, and would make a decision quickly once it received the proposal, it said.

A bankruptcy filing would mark the end for a Japanese company that started as a textile maker and produced parachutes for the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

As the crisis has mounted, Takata has been trying to figure out a way to survive and still keep supplying replacement parts to affected carmakers, such as Honda and Toyota. Takata has repeatedly said it is in the process of reviewing its inflator business and a consortium led by Key Safety will also involve Daicel, a Japanese maker of inflators that would participate as a production partner.

Honda Chief Executive Officer Takahiro Hachigo said at a media briefing on Friday that the automaker hasn't heard any specifics about the Takata bankruptcy plan.

Takata did not immediately reply to a request for comment Monday. "We have told the third-party committee to make sure to prioritise parts procurement".

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