GM Develops Takata Airbag Recall Contingency PlansDecember 22, 2014
In a year filled with recall issues for General Motors, the company announced that it had contingency plans in place to deal with any expansions in the current Takata airbag recall. The plans include requesting that the Japanese company work with their chief rivals, U.S.-based TRW and Swedish Autoliv, to increase the capacity of available airbag inflation systems to meet the increased demand. GM has not disclosed how many of its vehicles have been affected by the Takata airbag recall, nor have they released data on the vehicle models or model years.
Driver Deaths Spur Takata Airbag Recall
Reports of at least five deaths have spurred the Japanese company to issue the Takata airbag recall. The fatalities, as well as several injuries, occurred when the airbag inflation systems exploded, propelling metal and plastic shards into drivers and front-seat passengers. Preliminary investigations have attributed ammonium nitrate, the gas used in the inflation systems, as the reason behind the Takata airbag recall. Early reports have shown that the gas can be extremely volatile in humid conditions.
Automakers Expand Takata Airbag Recalls
The initial Takata airbag recall targeted those vehicles registered in areas with high humidity, including Florida and the Gulf Coast area. Ford, Honda and Mazda have all announced that they have expanded their Takata airbag recall programs to cover vehicles nationwide. The expansion covers more than 500,000 Ford vehicles and nearly ten times as many from Honda, Takata’s biggest customer. The expanded recall could also include more than 6.5 million GM’s Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks from 2006 to 2013.
Takata Airbag Recall Causes Honda To Seek Other Suppliers
With at least ten major automakers impacted by the Takata airbag recall, the leaders of these automotive giants are considering other options for their airbag suppliers. A statement released by Honda revealed that the company had signed an agreement with Autoliv, Takata’s biggest rival, to make replacement parts for the defective inflation system. A Honda press release also stated that the company had started negotiations with Daicel, another manufacturer of airbag inflators.
Demand From Takata Airbag Recall Forces Increased Capacity
The increased demand for replacement parts to fix the Takata airbag recall issue has forced the company to expand its manufacturing capacity. Takata officials announced that the company would boost production at its plant in Monclova, Mexico, by more than 30 percent at the start of 2015. The plant would produce 450,000 new inflators a month. The company would also move its inflator production for BMW, the only German automaker affected by the Takata airbag recall, to its plant in Germany.
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