Japanese automotive safety supplier Takata Corp, which earlier this year accepted a $1-billion settlement when it pleaded guilty to fraud in US federal court, is reportedly preparing to file for bankruptcy, according to Reuters. The company, some of whose airbag systems have been implicated in deaths and injuries from faulty inflators, could file for bankruptcy as soon as next week even as it pursues a deal to obtain financial backing from Key Safety Systems Inc.
Key Safety Systems is working on a restructuring deal with Takata, and could acquire the latter’s operations for around 180 billion yen ($1.6 billion US) and continue producing airbags, seatbelts, and other safety components for the automotive industry. However, automakers are concerned that Takata could go bankrupt without a finalized deal in place, as that could disrupt the production of replacement airbag inflators for recalled vehicles.
Reuters reports that 65 percent of the 46.2 million passenger vehicles recalled for defective Takata airbag inflators in the US have not yet been repaired. Completing the task of replacing all faulty inflators in the US could cost as much as $8 billion, a US judge claims.
Takata has not commented on its alleged plans to file for bankruptcy. The company’s airbag recall is the largest automotive recall in US history.
Ford vehicles affected by the Takata airbag inflator recall in the US are: