— Takata better hope its non-airbag business is enough to sustain the company because when it comes to vehicle airbags, the game might be over. And for airbags made with ammonium nitrate, the game is definitely over.
First to abandon Takata was Honda, Takata's biggest vehicle airbag customer. Once Honda jumped ship, Toyota, Mazda and Nissan quickly confirmed they would no longer use airbags made with ammonium nitrate.
The newest member of the Takata going away party is Ford and its announcement of no more Takata ammonium nitrate airbags. Ford didn't rule out using all Takata equipment, but did say airbag inflators that contain ammonium nitrate will no longer be used in any Ford models, a stance similar to that of Toyota.
Although Toyota says it will no longer use any Takata airbag inflators that contain ammonium nitrate, the automaker will consider using inflators that aren't made with ammonium nitrate, under the condition that Takata prove the inflators are safe.
Toyota Recalls 1.6 Million Vehicles
Speaking of Toyota, the automaker is still coping with Takata airbags after the announcement that 1.6 million vehicles previously recalled will need to be recalled again.
The automaker says at least 22 models will be recalled in Japan after a Takata airbag injured a passenger in a Nissan X-Trail SUV. Toyota believed the components, the same as used in the Nissan SUV, were safe but the incident in the Nissan X-Trail proved otherwise.
Toyota said airbag tests were conducted to look for air leaks and a previous recall was based on any airbag inflators that leaked. However, the airbag inflator that exploded in the Nissan had passed the leak test, yet still exploded.
Toyota hasn't released the final number of vehicles that will be recalled because affected vehicles were sold not only in Japan but also Britain, Italy and Spain.
What is known is that all the vehicles were manufactured January 2004, through December 2005.
Toyota has already recalled about 19 million vehicles worldwide to replace Takata airbag inflators. Additionally, there have been at least six injuries in Toyota vehicles, although no occupants have died in Toyota models.
This latest development won't affect Toyota's U.S. customers but Takata already has enough to handle here anyway. Along with government investigations and millions of recalled vehicles, Takata recently had to cough up $70 million to pay a fine to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
If Takata doesn't meet its obligations with the government, another $130 million will become due to NHTSA.