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Takata Corporation

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Takata Corporation

Takata Corporation
Native name タカタ株式会社
Industry Automotive industry
Plastic production
Founded Takata Shiga, Japan (1933)
Petri Aschaffenburg, Germany (1899)
Founders Takezo Takada
Richard Petri
Headquarters Tokyo, Japan
Aschaffenburg, Germany
Area served Worldwide
Products steering wheels
Interior trims
Airbag systems
Seat belts
Electronics
Child restraint systems
Employees 35,000 World wide
11,000 in Europe
Website www.takata.com

Takata Corporation (タカタ株式会社 Takata Kabushiki Gaisha) is an automotive parts company based in Japan. The company has production facilities on four continents, with its European headquarters located in Germany, where it also has nine production facilities.[1] It had around 4 billion euros in turnover in 2008.[1]

Contents

  • History 1
  • Takata AG 2
  • 1995 Seat belt recall 3
  • Defective airbags 4
    • GM 4.1
      • Which cars are affected 4.1.1
  • References 5
  • External links 6

History

Takata steering-wheel in a Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Takata was founded in 1933 in Shiga, Japan, by Takezo Takada and started to produce lifelines for parachutes, and other textiles. In the early 1950s, the company started to research seat belts. Later they incorporated as "Takata". In the 1960s, Takata started to sell seat-belts and built the world's first crash test plant for testing seat-belts under real world conditions. In the 1970s Takata developed child restraint systems. In the 1980s, the company changes its name to "Takata Corporation" and expanded to Korea, USA and later to Ireland, to sell seat-belts. In the 1990s Takata expanded internationally.

Takata AG

In 2000, Takata Corporation acquired German competitor Petri AG, forming the European subsidiary Takata-Petri, renamed Takata AG in early 2012.[2] Takata AG makes steering wheels and plastic parts, not only for the automotive industry.

1995 Seat belt recall

In May 1995, an recall in the U.S. affecting 8,428,402 predominantly Japanese vehicles made between 1986-91 with seat belts manufactured by the Takata Corporation of Japan, was begun. It was called at the time the "second largest recall in the 30 year history of the Department of Transportation (DOT)". The recall was prompted by an investigation (PE94-052) carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Takata-equipped Honda vehicles, after many of their owners complained of seat belt buckles either failing to latch, latching and releasing automatically, or releasing in accidents. It revealed that potentially faulty Takata seat belts were not limited only to Honda vehicles, but to other Japanese imports as well. NHTSA opened up a second investigation on Takata seatbelts broadly (EA94-036) as well as individual investigations on the vehicle manufacturers using Takata seat belts to determine the magnitude of the defect. This second investigation was only limited to the front seat belt buckles and in particular Takata's 52X and A7X models. This determined that a total of 11 manufacturers were effected by the investigation. Japanese models sold in the United States by American Honda Motor Co., Isuzu Motors of America Inc., Mazda Motor of America Inc., Nissan North America, Daihatsu Motor Co., American, Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America Inc. and Subaru of America Inc. also had affected seat belt buckles. Moreover, Chrysler, General Motors and Ford all had various models manufactured by Japanese companies with the seat belt buckles concerned, but sold under American names such as the Dodge Stealth and the Geo series (except Prizm) under General Motors. Ford had vehicles such as the Probe manufactured by Mazda on its' MX-6 platform and the Festiva made by Kia in South Korea, but engineered by Mazda that also had the seat belts. However, unlike Chrysler and General Motors, Ford did not admit that their seat belts could be defective.

Initially, some Japanese manufacturers suspected that the seat belt failures were a result of user abuse, rather than a design failure; however the nine month investigation by NHTSA concluded that the cause of the defect was that the buckles were made of ABS plastic. Through exposure to ultraviolet light over a period of time, the plastic became brittle and pieces fell off, causing a jamming of the release button mechanism.

The manufacturers involved agreed to a voluntary recall, though this did not go smoothly, with only 18% of the 8.9 million cars and trucks with the Takata belt buckle having been repaired two years after the recall had begun. In addition, NHTSA assessed a $50,000 civil penalty against both Honda and Takata for failing to notify the agency about the seat belt defect in a timely manner. Honda was fined because NHTSA believed the company knew about the hazard at least five years before the recall, but never reported the problem to NHTSA nor offered to conduct a voluntary recall.[3]

Defective airbags

Takata began making airbags in 1988 and, as of 2014, holds 20 percent of the market. During 2013, several automakers began large recalls of vehicle due to Takata-made airbags. Reports state that the problems may have begun a decade before.[4]

Honda stated they knew of more than 30 injuries and two deaths in the United States that were related to Takata airbags.[4]

In April and May 2013, a total of 3.6 million cars were recalled due to defective Takata airbags.[4] All of those airbags were made at, or otherwise used inflator units manufactured by, Takata's Monclova Plant[5] in Coahuila, Mexico, operated by Takata's North American/Mexican subsidiary, TK Holdings Inc.[6] In November 2014 BMW announced they will move any orders from the Mexican plant to a Takata plant in Germany.[7]

In June 2014, Takata admitted their Mexican subsidiary had mishandled the manufacture of explosive propellants and improperly stored chemicals used in airbags. Identifying vehicles with defective airbags was made more difficult by the failure of TK Holdings Inc. to keep proper quality control records. This had prompted another round of recalls in June 2013.[4]

In their statement the company said, "We take this situation seriously, will strengthen our quality control and make a concerted effort to prevent a recurrence".[4]

On June 23, 2014, auto manufactures BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota announced they were recalling over three million vehicles worldwide due to Takata Corporation-made airbags. The reason was that they could rupture and send flying debris inside the vehicle. This was in response to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation, initiated after they received three injury complaints.[4]

In a statement on June 23, 2014, Takata said they thought excessive moisture was the cause of the defect. Haruo Otani, an official at the vehicle recall section of the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, said that moisture and humidity could be seeping inside inflators, destabilizing the volatile propellant inside.[4]

On November 18, 2014 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called on Takata to make the airbag recall national. The action came as 10 automakers in the U.S. recalled hundreds of thousands of cars equipped with potentially faulty air bags manufactured by Takata.[8]

GM

On May 2014, General Motors expanded an earlier recall of their 2012 Chevrolet Cruze sedan and other models because of an electrical problem with the Takata airbags. The recall also included the Buick Verano, the Chevrolet Sonic and the Chevrolet Camaro.[9]

On June 25, 2014, General Motors told their North American dealers to stop selling their 2013 and 2014 model Chevrolet Cruze sedans. GM stated, "Certain vehicles may be equipped with a suspect driver's air bag inflator module that may have been assembled with an incorrect part." The airbags involved were made by Takata Corporation.[9] On June 11, 2014, Toyota recalled 2.3 million vehicles, many for the second time.[4]

Which cars are affected

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received notification from BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota that they are conducting limited regional recalls to address a possible safety defect involving Takata brand air bag inflators.[10]

References

  1. ^ a b Takata Petri hires 1,000 people in half a year in Arad and Sibiu, 11.12.2009, zf.ro, retrieved at 2 march 2010
  2. ^ History, Takata Corporation website.
  3. ^ "Takata Seat Belt Buckle". The Center for Auto Safety. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Tabuchi, Hiroko; Jensen, Christopher. "Now the Air Bags Are Faulty, Too". http://www.nytimes.com/. The New York Times. Retrieved 25 June 2014. 
  5. ^ (Takata report sent to NHTSA, April 2013)Defect Information Report, Certain Air Bag Inflators Used as Original Equipment
  6. ^ List of Takata locations from company website, as of November 6th, 2014
  7. ^ http://www.autonews.com/article/20141119/OEM11/141119777
  8. ^ "Federal highway safety agency demands recall of cars with Takata air bags". foxnews.com. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Woodall, Bernie; Lienert, Paul. "GM tells dealers to stop selling Cruze sedans with Takata air bags". http://money.msn.com/. MSN. Retrieved 25 June 2014. 
  10. ^ Hammond, Lou Annl. "Which cars are affected by the Takata air bag recall? on Driving the Nation". http://www.drivingthenation.com. drivingthenation.com. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Special Report: Plant with troubled past at center of Takata air bag probe (Reuters)
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