Takata, battered by air bag crisis, files for bankruptcy protection

Япония обанкротился известный автозавод

The Tokyo-based safety automotive parts maker is now facing a magnanimous amount of lawsuits and recalls; some of their airbags were linked to over 16 deaths all around the globe. Settlement agreements with Toyota, Subaru, BMW and Mazda have already received preliminary approval from the MDL Court, and will accelerate the removal of unsafe airbag inflators from 15.8 million vehicles and compensate consumers for economic losses associated with the recall.

January 2012: In a meeting with USA auto-safety regulators, Takata "failed to clarify inaccurate information" on the air bags, according to a consent decree the company later signed.

Takata's bankruptcy filing will make it more challenging for automakers to recoup the cost of repairing millions of vehicles with defective air bags. Key Safety Systems and its owner, China's Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp., should dig in for a long and costly fight.

Takata also reached settlements with some carmakers worth $553 million to resolve economic-loss claims tied to the company's faulty products.

In 2000, the company started using a chemical - ammonium nitrate - as a propellant in its airbag inflators.

Both Takata and KSS say that the US and Japanese filings should have "no effect" on access to replacement inflators.

Over 100 million cars fitted with the unsafe airbags have since been recalled, however an unknown number are still on the road.

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2007: Honda reports three incidents of air bags rupturing to Takata. The company has announced it will sell all assets - except those relating to its airbag business - to United States firm Key Safety Systems (KSS) for $1.6bn.

Takata is expected to use $1 billion of the proceeds to cover its settlement of criminal charges with USA authorities.

Under the deal, Sterling Heights based-Key Safety proposed to acquire all global Takata assets and operations, except those tied to the phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate airbag inflators business.

Takata recently pleaded guilty in a USA court to criminal charges for its handling of the scandal, agreeing to pay $1 billion in penalties, including the fund for people injured as a result of the fiery shrapnel hurled from its air bags. The penalties include $850 million in restitution to automakers, $125 million for victims and families and a $25 million criminal fine. "This agreement would allow that to continue", Shigehisa Takada, Chairman & CEO of Takata said. Takata's assets bring with them a deep customer base.

Peter Prieto, a lawyer for consumer plaintiffs in the Takata air bag litigation, said in a statement that Honda had refused to present the engineer for a deposition.

The U.S. Justice Department has also charged Takata executives Shinichi Tanaka, Hideo Nakajima and Tsuneo Chikaraishi with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five counts of wire fraud in an indictment was unsealed on January 13.

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